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Full text of "Omni Magazine (November 1993)"


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VOL 16 NO. 2 ■ . NOVEMBER 19 93 








First Word 

By Susan Eisenhower 

Picking up the Cold 

V/ar's pieces 



By Eric Adams 



By Linda Marsa 



By Pat Janowsl^i 



By Douglas Stein 

Programmed to overeat? 



By Gary Null 


Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 



By Leonard David 

NASA's customers speak. 



By Kyle Rodericl< 

Cleaning up naturally 


Omni Online 

By Keith Ferrell 



By Scot Morris 

How do we reconcile the aesthetic— the intangible— with 

science and the tangible? The experts 

offer their views. Cover art by Ray Roberts. (Additional 

art and photo credits, page 114) 



A Conversation in 


By Janet Stiles 

:'s a timeless yet uniquely 

modern question: 

Are art and science 


A writer, a scholar, and 

a scientist 

discuss it via a medium 

that mixes the 

two: electronic mail. 


Future War, 

Future Peace 

By Ben Bova 

How will we wage war — 

and keep the 

peace — in the years 

to come? 


Souls in Silicon 

By Frederik Pohl and 

Hans Moravec 

Transferring the human 

brain to a 

computer may no longer 

be science fiction. 


Fiction: Tfianlcsgiving 

By Joyce Carol Gates 



By Bill Moseley 



OMNI (ISSN 0149-8711)15 published morlHy sfceptfor 
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nts copyrighted. Nothing 

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Not what we did to them, but what we did to'ourseives 

By Susan Eisentnower 

Susan Eisenltower 

is dlreEtDF 

of Uie Cenier for 


Studies, liased In 

CliBw Chase, 

Marvland. Her 


was Dwlghi David 

The Cold War lasted 40 
years, but its impact will 
be felt well into the twen- 
ti^first century. Ironically, resolu- 
tion of the critical social, econom- 
ic, and environmental issues that 
have emerged as a direct or in- 
direct result of the U.S.-Soviet 
standoff will most likely be sty- 
mied by the sheer size of the ef- 
fort required to cope with the leg- 
acy of it. 

The costs of the Cold War 
were considerable, both from a fi- 
nancial as well as a social and 
democratic standpoint 

Apart from the multitrlllion dol- 
lars we spent and will spend to 
destroy our Cold War arsenals, 
the "aftermath" costs associated 
with industrial retooling, job retrain- 
ing, unemployment benefits, and 
scientific and R & D displacement 
will also have wide-ranging dem- 
ographic and economic effects 
on a weakened America, 

But perhaps the part of the 
Cold War legacy that has re- 
ceived the least attention is Oie ef- 
fect this confrontation had in 
changing the nature of the rela- 
tionship between the American 
people and our government, 

The nuclear age brought with 
it greater complexity in the tech- 
nology of warfare. The develop- 
ment and deployment of these sys- 
tems also necessitated larger 
and more centralized government 
structures. Politicians and strate- 
gists, determined to meet the per- 
ceived Soviet threat, reached a 
tacit agreement with the public: 
"These complicated topics 
should be left to the experts. 
Trust us and we will assure your 
national security." 

Grateful to avoid having to 
learn what "flexible response" 
and "double-zero option" meant, 
the public effectively gave the 
government a blank check to do 
"what had to be done" to face 
down our superpower rival. Even 

at the point where common 
sense had been lost, most of the 
public went unquestionably along 
with any kind of military expendi- 
tures. By the time the Cold War 
was over, the United States had 
100 times more nuclear weapons 
than during the Cuban Missile Cri- 
sis, and together with the Soviet 
Union, enough nuclear weapons 
to blow up the world 15 times. 
Elaborate and undecipherable 
arguments were given for the 
necessity of America's "overkill" 
capacity, and the public barely 

With the onset and the institu- 
tionalization of the Cold War, so 
came the growth of government. 
In 1956,for instance, the year the 
dark mystique of Stalinism was 
shattered with Niklta Khru- 
shchev's secret speech to the 
20th Party Congress, 2.86 million 
military personnel worked tor the 
Defense Department and 1 .4 mil- 
lion civilians. By 1993, years af- 
ter the real Soviet threat to the 
United States had diminished, 
that figure had almost doubled. 

But perhaps the most disturb- 
ing government expansion was in 
the burgeoning of secrecy. The 
CIA, NSA, DIA, NRO were all 
founded as highly classified agen- 
cies. Today, it is estimated that as 
much as $36 billion now goes in- 
to the "black budget," that por- 

tion of the federal budget that is 
exempt from Congressional over- 
sight. Incredibly, that figure is 
now, after the Cold War is over, 
approximately four times what it 
was at the beginning of the 
1980s, Downsizing these Cold 
War bureaucracies will require a 
herculean effort. 

The greatest tragedy of the 
Cold War period, however, is 
that it induced the public to for- 
go their, interest in the formulation 
of our policy. The public had no 
reason to demand it back until re- 
cently, when the American peo- 
ple finally understood that the "pip- 
er" would have to be paid for the 
"guns and butter" expenditures 
that are still on account. 

Since the last genuine fiscal sur- 
plus in T960, between federal en- 
titlements and our massive arms 
buildup, the federal debt went 
from $630 billion dollars in 1976 
to $1.4 trillion in 1982. Today we 
have a federal debt four limes 
that size. 

As the fiscal crisis in the United 
States looms larger, the American 
people may begin to look for 
scapegoats for the fiscal feeding 
frenzy of the last three decades. 
Military industry or the military it- 
self will be easy targets. But they 
cannot be properly blamed. It 
has always been the military's job 
to provide worst-case scenarios, 
and it is industry's mission to 
make a profit and market their 
goods. But it is the duty of the 
country's leadership to say "No" 
and Enough," and in this they 
failed us. In the final analysis, how- 
ever we elected those officials, 
and we were the ones who relin- 
quished our responsibilities. 
in the next century, the future 

t the United States will depend 

n ttie American public learning 
ilie issues and asking the tough 
questions. If our democracy is to 
survive, the buck will have to 
ctop at the ballot box. CXD 





Getting what you deserve, shaman behind bars, 

and clothing the earth 

Every Man for Himself 

Although I find most of the articles in 
Omni stimulating and interesting, I 
found Tom Dworetzky's article on 
healtfi care [Political Science, August 
1993] to be pure liawg-wash. The free- 
enterprise system has created the fin- 
est health-care and pharmaceutical sys- 
tem the worid has ever known. Imple- 
ment Mr. Dworetzky's plan, or any other 
like it, and the American public will re- 
ceive the benefits of a second-rate 
heaith-care system and another giant 
government bureaucracy with its giant 
payroll — such as welfare, where it 
costs 75 cents just to flip a quarter some- 
place. How many of these programs 
can taxpayers and the Gr>JP absorb? 
Harvey Taylor 
Newalla, OK 

I find Mr. Dworetzky's leftist rhetoric de- 
plorable. There is no total equality in the 
Constitution, implied or otherwise, nor 
should there be. The equality we share 
as citizens of this country is equality un- 
der the law. We have the same rights 
of life, liberty (freedom from governrpent 
coercion, the right Mr. Dworetzky 
seeks to erode or destroy), and the 
right to pursue happiness. Those are 
our .rights. There are no others, nor 
should there be. The Constitution does 
not guarantee anyone a car, a house, 
medical treatment, good cable-TV ser- 
vice, nor anything else created by hu- 
mans. The rights that we possess are 
ours because we are humans, not be- 
cause a document decreed them to us, 
Keith and Denise Russell 
Overland Park, KS 

Sublime Secretions 
It's a good thing Peter Gorman was in 
South America when he was collecting 
psychoactive frog secretions and snort- 
ing strange powders ["Making Magic," 
July 1993], Othenwise, the Drug Enforce- 
ment Administration might have thrown 
him and that shaman (or should I say 
drug dealer?) in prison. Although the 
ecstatic experience of psychedelics 
has the potential of offering many ben- 
efits, the government condemns all 

forms of psychedelic experience out of 
hand. This not only prohibits scientific 
research, but oppresses those of us 
who wish to explore our own minds, 

Pat Jordan 
Clarksviile, TN 

All in Favor Say Baa 
I read "Gardening with Wool" [Contin- 
uum] in the July 1993 issue with great 
interest. It seems to me that this "tip for 
gardeners" could hold great promise for 
the areas in our world that have be- 
come increasingly infertile due to soil ero- 
sion. I applaud the officials of the Inter- 
national Wool Secretariat for their valu- 
able research and sincerely hope they 
will expand their trials from small vege- 
table patches and hanging baskets to 
places where soil erosion is tragically 
impacting the Ijves of millions of people, 
Lisa Getz 
Vancouver, B.C., Canada 

Food Fetish 

Though I'm not a huge fan of cyberpunk 
or car racing, the fiction piece "Grand 
Prix" by Simon Ings contained a per- 
fect blend [June 1993], I loved the way 
Catherine was characterized by eating 
prawns with "casual, sadistic gestures." 
Compact and very revealing, 

David L, Duggins 
Suffolk, U,K.Da 

Clarification: Since fhe October issue 
was printed, Dr. Ricl< Strassman has with- 
drawn from furtiier invoivement with the 
IHeffter Research Institute which was 
mentioned on page 70 of "Finding God 
in the Three-Pound Universe: The Neu- 
roscience of Transcendence." 

Got something to say but no time to 
write? Call (900) 903-8683, ext. 
70103. Your comments will be re- 
corded and may appear In an upcom- 
ing issue of Omni! The cost for the 
call is 95 cents per minute. You 
must be age 18 or older. Touch- 
tone phones only. Sponsored by 
Pure Entertainment, P,0, Box 16r 
Hollywood, California 90078, 


Artifacts indicate that African culture persisted even in slavery 

By Eric Adams 


artifacts, buried 

tiundreds ol 

years ago liv a 


stave, provide 

Oie first 

indications tlial 


slaves continued 

to practice 

their native 


^^ f^ ore than two centuries 
I I I I ago, in Annapolis, Mary- 
I \M I land, a Black slave liv- 
ing in the home of a prominent Ro- 
man Catholic signer of tine Dec- 
laration of independence buried 
In a dark corner of a basement 
workshop a collection of quartz 
crystals, polished stones, bone 
disks, and pierced coins. 

No one knows for sure the iden- 
tity of the slave or why he or she 
buried these treasures beneath 
the home of Charles Carroll of Car- 
rollton. But for all the unanswered 
questions, this particular find 
could be, as one Yale University 
art historian calls it, a "Rosetta 
Stone" in the study of the birth of 
African-American culture. 

The cache, containing more 
than 20 items and covered -in the 
dirt by a bowl with an asterisk 
painted inside it, was discovered 
two years ago during a decade- 
long project funded by the ■ 
Charles Carroll House, Inc. Archae- 
ologists and students from the Uni- 
versity of Maryland's College 
Park campus, led by anthropolo- 
gy professor Mark P, Leone, are 
excavating sites around Annapo- 
lis, searching for clues about the 
daily life of both enslaved and 
free African Americans, 

"This find is so exciting be- 
(.a ise of the spec f c t^ of it 
says a e s Robert Farr s Thomp 




son, who examined the artifacts 
last year. He recognized them as 
elements of African culture, indi- 
cating that such culture survived 
during slavery. Historians had 
previously assumed that White so- 
ciety thoroughly quashed the ex- 
pression of African culture and re- 
ligion by slaves. 

Africans in Kongo, a region in 
southwest Zaire and northern An- 
gola, still use the sort ol items in 
the cache, according to Thomp- 
son. They wear the pierced 
coins, for example, on a string or 
chain, he says. Kongo parents of- 
ten put them on small children as 
charms. "If they're characterized 
by chubbihess — ntandu—\t will 
help them achieve thinness — mi- 
kaso," he explains. 

The bone disks, also pierced 
and worn around the body repre- 
sent ideas at the core of Kongo 
classical religion, he continues, 
"They have a very precise 
phrase to tell us why they would 
want to wear them; lunda lukdn- 
goto Iwa lunga. or 'keep your cir- 
cle complete,' As long as the cir- 
cle is not broken, you're safe. 

"All major world religions have 
some way of miniaturizing their re- 
ligion. Right here, hidden in the 
soil of Annapolis, is the Kongo 
equivalent to a miniature crucifix, 
a small irreducible essence of the 
religion," says Thompson of the 
bone disks, adding that the crys- 
tals and the asterisk — a "cos- 
mogram" — are also significant el- 

ements of Kongo religion. 

Charles Carroll, whose family 
was among the wealthiest in Mar^^ 
land, was one of the largest 
slave Importers in Annapolis, bring- 
ing them from West Africa, includ- 
ing Sierra Leone. Nevertheless, 
Maryland still had fewer slaves 
than most other colonies and 
states, making it harder, histori- 
ans had reasoned, to perpetuate 
many native traditions. Moreover, 
as the archaeological project is re- 
vealing. Blacks In Annapolis 
gave the appearance of living 
much like Whites did. Free 
Blacks, in particular, used West- 
ern goods purchased from the 
same markets Whites used. 

But the Carroll House dig, be- 
sides raising very serious ques- 
tions about how successful 
Whites were in rubbing out Afri- 
can culture, has also changed 
the way archaeologists and his- 
torians view the development of 
African-American culture, accord- 
ing to George Logan, site super- 
visor for the dig. The artifacts and 
other material turned up in the dig 
show that African and European 
cultures didn't remain separate. 
"It's a creolization, a process of 
different cultures coming togeth- 
er and forming a different prod- 
uct on its own," he says. 

Understanding how individual 
elements of African-American his- 
tory combined to create a sepa- 
rate, and ultimately free, culture 
is crucial, says project leader Le- 
one. In fact, it provided the moti- 
vation for this part of the project. 
"Our 'mandate' from the African- 
American community, whom we 
were collaborating with very close- 
ly on the formulation of our re- 
search, was to discover what con- 
ditions were like in freedom," Le- 
one explains, "They said they 
were familiar with slavery, but 
they wanted to hear about free- 
dom — their freedom and their an- 
cestors' freedom." DO 


How to avoid getting fleeced 

By Linda Marsa 

As a last 

resoit, you can 

hire a lawyer 

or go te small' 

claims court. 

But you have to 

declite it it's 

worth the trouble 

and exponse. 

mobody likes to get 
fleeced, but unfortu- 
nately, consumers gel 
ripped off all the time: home im- 
provements that are shoddy, the 
department store cfiarges you 
didn't make and stalwartly refuse 
to pay — ruining your credit rating, 
the unscrupulous auto mechanic 
who makes repairs you didn't 
authorize or inflates costs. 

The iist is endless. Under nor- 
mai circumstances, a phone call 
conducted under ten decibeis or 
a calm letter stating your case 
should get results. But if a com- 
pany proves recalcitrant 
and ignores your com- 
plaints or offers only to- 
ken compensation, re- 
sist the impulse to dyna- 
mite its offices, There 
are numerous consum- 
er watchdog agencies 
that will gladly mediate 
your dispute, and sheer 
persistence can often 
grind down even the 
most intransigent trades- 
people. And if ail else 
fails, you can at least 
have the pleasure of 
hauling the SOB into the 
nearest court. 

It's essential to keep 
records and establish a 
paper trail. That in- 
cludes receipts, any kind of war- 
ranties, and documenting the com- 
plaint process with a detailed log 
of "who you talked to, what you 
told them, and what took place in 
the conversation," advises Mi- 
chael Haslet of the Consumer In- 
formation Center in Washington, 
DC, "That way you can refer 
back to that if anyone disputes 
your claim." 

This may sound like a lot of trou- 
ble, but Haslet says the vast ma- 
jority of consumer complaints are 
resolved with the first step— either 
by negotiating an equitable set- 
tlement with the person from 

whom you purchased the prod- 
uct or service or by contacting 
the parent corporation that 
makes the goods. In fact, virtual- 
ly all big companies have custom- 
er-relations departments whose 
sole function is to rectify consum- 
er problems. "Oftentimes," says 
Haslet, "they'll be happy to 
make amends," 

If you get stonewalled, it may 
be time to bring in the heavy ar- 
tillery. Enlist the aid of your local 
Better Business Bureau, your 
state or city department of con- 
affairs, or trade associa- 

tions, which often have a strict 
code of ethics for members and 
hot lines to handle consumer 
beefs. One of these strategies is 
bound to come through — the com- 
pany may get so tired of fending 
off people pleading your case, it'll 
settle just to get rid of you, "if noth- 
ing else," adds Haslet, "it'll give 
them a bad rep in their field, 
which can result in lost business," 
For more complicated cases, 
your best recourse is consumer 
agencies, which do have some le- 
gal clout, or trade groups for 
these industries, like the Ameri- 
can Society of Travel Agents 

(1101 King Street, Alexandria, Vir- 
ginia 22314; 703-739-2782) or 
the National Association of the Re- 
modeling Industry (4301 North 
Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 
22203; 703-276-7600), 

Similarly, problems with mail or- 
der — merchandise that never ar- 
rives is one of consumers' big- 
gest gripes — can often be re- 
solved by the Direct Marketing 
Association's Mail-Order Action 
Line (1101 17ih Street NW, Suite 
705, Washington, DC 20036), 

The best defense, though, is a 
good offense. Thoroughly inves- 
tigate a product's repu- 
tation before you fork 
over your hard-earned 
dough Read Consumer 
Reports and talk to peo- 
ple yuu trust. If you hire 
tradespeople to do a 
job ask for references. 
Call the Better Business 
Bureau and their local 
trade or professional or- 
ganization to check out 
their track record. And 
get as much as you can 
in writing, such as war- 
ranties for materials or 
products or contracts 
for r»modeling jobs, 
which outline exactly 
what you expect, "If you 
do your homework be- 
forehand," says Haslet, "it will 
save you hassles afterwards." 

For more information on how to 
fight back, get a copy of the Con- 
sumer's Resource Handbook 
(which can be obtained gratis 
from the Consumer Information 
Center, Department 592Z, Pueb- 
lo, Colorado 81009). This handy 
guide will pilot you through the 
complaint process. It also has 
comprehensive listings of where 
to go for help: corporate custom- 
er-service contacts; professional 
and trade associations; and na- 
tional, state, and local consumer- 
protection groups. DO 



A Spanish archive goes from the shelves to the computer screen 

By Pat Janowski 

of valuable doc- 
uments [right) 
and maps relating 
In the vayages 
nt Christopher 
Columbus (below) 
and Spain's 
conquest of the 
Americas are 
being preseived on 
optical disk. 


Historians have generally 
pursued their research 
in a rather old-fashioned 
manner, poring over scraps of 
fragile documents and studying 
ancient artifacts. Now, some schol- 
ars are, in a way, catcliing up 
with the times: An archival collec- 
tion relating to the Spanish con- 
quest of the Americas is being 
transferred to optical disi<. 

The Archive de Indias in Sev- 
ille, Spain— mecca to historians 
of the Spanish conquest— holds 
all official documents and maps 
relating to early emigration, explo- 
ration, missionaries, and trade in 
the Americas, including Colum- 
bus's discovery of the New 
WDrld. Housed in a sixteenth-cen- 
tury building, the chilly, dimly lit 
Archivo contains five and a half 
miles of shelving loaded down 
with boxes of documents. "1 
used to take a flashlight in with 
me to look at manuscripts," says 
Harry Kelsey, a research fellow at 
the Huntington Library in San Ma- 
rino, California. 

Kelsey is Jusf one of the histo- 
rians able to access the priceless 
material more easily because of 
the optical-disk project. For the 
past three years, 12 to 15 cura- 
tors have worked full time to get 
the Archive's catalogs ready for 
scanning onto optical disk. About 
250,000 pages a month are be- 
ing scanned with an optical scan- 
ner that converts each page into 
digital data; so far, Archivo work- 
ers have scanned about 13 mil- 
lion pages, They have roughly 75 
million pages to go. 

The curators have already en- 
tered into a database all of the 
Archive's various catalogs, allow- 
ing scholars to enter a keyword 
and call up all the relevant refer- 
ences without paging through cat- 
alog after catalog. Now, as each 
page is scanned, workers add 
the names, places, and subjects 
contained on the page to the da- 

tabase expai iding on catalog ref 
erences that in many cases con 
tained only the most cursory in- 
formation. Together, these proj- 
ects — financed in part by El Corte 
Ingles, one of Spain's premier de- 
partment stores— will facilitate the 
work of the thousands of schol- 
ars who currently travel from all 
over the world to examine the 
Archivo's documents. 

Researchers used the cata- 
logs principally to determine 
which of the Archivo's 43,000 card- 
board bundles held 'the docu- 
ments they were after. Each fold- 
er holds about 2,000 sheets, 
which may or may not cover re- 
lated subjects, Kelsey says. With 
the optical-scanning project, the 
contents of each folder now fit on 
one optical disk. 

"This project will result in a com- 
plete record of what's in the 
Archivo for the first time," says 
Bill Frank, a curator at the Hunt- 
ington. And the database allows 
quick searches for historical infor- 
mation. For instance, a research- 
er consulting the database for da- 
ta about a particular shipwreck 
would likely turn up a report cit- 
ing the circumstances of the 
wreck, what was salvaged, and 
what happened to the king's 
share of the booty, 

"These are things that you'd 
never have found before," Frank 
says. "A lot of this stuff had nev- 
er even been read by curators." 

Besides aiding with scholarly 
work the optical-disk project al- 
so preserves the fragile, deterio- 
rating documents. Kelsey recalls 
having crumbs from a docu- 
ments original wax seal fall out of 
a folder as he looked through it. 
Now researchers needn't shorten 
the materials' lives with every in- 
quiry I'm consulting these doc- 
uments but doing them no 
harm says Geoffrey Parker, pro- 
fessor of history at Yale Universi- 
ty They are, after all, five hun- 
dred years old." 

Last year, the Archivo sent 
eight optical disks from the not- 
yet-completed database to the 
United States as part of a tempo- 
rary exhibition at the Huntington, 
The disks later went on display 
briefly at the IBM galleries in New 
York City — their last scheduled vis- 
it to any museum. 

After trying out the new sys- 
tem, Parker was astonished. 
With the database, which inven- 
tories 95 percent of the Archivo's 
contents, "I can get call numbers, 
contact the Archivo, and ask for 
copies of specific documents. 
Even if I still need to go to Spain, 
this allows me to be totally pre- 
pared so I don't have to spend 
fruitless time searching." 

Using the disks, Parker says, 
can be even better than examin- 
ing the original documents. 

"I can do things that i can't do 
to the original," he explains. "I 
can remove blemishes. These doc- 
uments are frequently written on 
both sides of the page, and of- 
ten the ink bleeds through from 
one side to another. I can clean 
that up. I can print out a perfect 
copy of an imperfect document, 
I'm on a high — I've never seen any- 
thing like this," 

Putting manuscript collections 
onto disk is the future of histori- 
cal research, Parker says. Sever- 
al archives may soon follow the 
Archivo's example, DO 


Outside suggestions may trigger "pig-out" brain programs 

By Douglas Stein 

Sensory cues 



eatins can 

be wiihin llie 

toDd— its 

crunciiiness or 

I just had to have them: sudden- 
ly, I absolutely craved all 
those chocolate eclairs," he 
screamed to his diet counselor. 
This obese 34-year-old man 
could be any of millions of Amer- 
icans who routinely binge and 
gorge on impulse — when they ar- 
en't even hungry. Studies conduct- 
ed at Northeastern University by 
Ann Kelley, now associate profes- 
sor of psychiatry ai the Universi- 
ty of Wisconsin, indicate that 
foods can be substances of 
abuse, and eating can involve 
cravings as intense as a drug ad- 
dict's. The brain region at the cen- 
ter of research on addiction, the 
nucleus accumbens (NAC), also 

tartness, the 


the lightins 

and music of a 


or in colariul 

loDd ads. 

serves as a chtioal component in 
a system which grants various en- 
vironmental cues their power to re- 
inforce and perpetuate compul- 
sive eating patterns. 

Kelley and her student, 
Vaishaii Bakshi, divided sated 
rats into two groups. One re- 
ceived saline Injections In the 
NAC every 48 hours. The other 
group, which got morphine on 
the same schedule, ate progres- 
sively more and doubled their 
food Intal^e after a week. The sa- 
line rats showed little change in 
the amount they ate. Then they 
gave both groups "mock injec-. 
tions" — that is, the needle was in- 
serted into the brain,- but nothing 

was injected. The morphine-sen- 
sitized rats continued to eat well 
beyond their pretest levels. 

That injected morphine induc- 
es animals and people to overeat 
Is an old finding. But Kelley's is 
the first study to show morphine- 
induced cond/t/oned feeding and 
the brain areas that mediate it. 
The sight, maybe the feel, of the 
needle become sensory cues con- 
ditioning the animals to overeat 
long after the actual opiate was 
withdrawn. "With this condition- 
ing," says Kelley, "If you don't 
give them food— right away— 
they're sniffing, digging for it. 1 
doubt they're suddenly hungry, 
and yet they must eat!" 

Cues associated with the mor- 
phine may provoke the animals to 
release opiates within the NAC 
and surrounding areas. And the 
needle may be just the tip of the 
iceberg: "You might need the ac- 
tual cage and objects around it," 
she says. Kelley compares this to 
cocaine addicts' resppnse when 
shown a video of drug para- 
phernalia or someone making 
crack, "Exposing them to drug- 
related cues causes addicts' 
blood pressure to rise, galvanic 
skin response, and many circulat- 
ing hormone levels to change." 

Situations in which people 
gain pleasure through foods of- 
fers a potential constellation of 
cues, any one of which can be- 
come a component of a craving- 
inducing ritual, "The reward," 
says Kelley, "may come to be with- 
in the social ritual, because 
much of what's happening there 
can be reinforcing." Researchers 
on obesity and bulimia are explor- 
ing how these cues activate crav- 
ings that overwhelm a person's 
ability to control appetite and why 
past experience is so salient in 
governing present behavior. 

The NAC's strategic position 
within the brain region called the 
striatum may hold answers. As 

they're perceived, craving cues ' 
are filtered through the higher 
associative cortices, then chan- 
neled to the frontal areas and 
downward to the limbic areas 
where they're tied to emotions 
and memories. This journey 
moves increasingly along opioid 
circuits until these meaning- 
charged impulses reach the 
NAC. "The NAC serves as a lim- 
bic-motor interface," Kelley 
says, '-between environmental 
cues, past experience, and the 
movements leading to eating. 
The NAC does this in part via ac- 
tivation of its opioid system." 

Dysfunction of these systems 
may be a prime cause of excess 
eating, The opiate blocker, nalox- 
one, has helped some bulimics to 
eat less, but not less often. Per- 
haps, Kelley muses, they feel 
less reward when they binge. A 
disorder of impulse control, 
binge eating is akin to obsessive- 
compulsive syndromes, which in- 
volve the striatum's failure to turn 
off a motor circuit. But for cue- 
Induced food cravings, opioids 
are probably not controlling just 
movements, but also thoughts. 
Such cues are embedded in our 
surroundings and our "inner uni- 
verses" as well. Almost any asso- 
ciation connoting the rewarding 
value of food can tap into the wide- 
spread opioid circuits and trigger 
a compulsive eating "program." 

Chronic drug use can alter neu- 
ronal architecture long after the 
drug is gone. These long-term 
changes may underlie behavior, 
bodily responses, and mental 
states related to foods, too, and 
their associations, "ivlany in the 
conditioning field," says Kelley, 
"believe these cravings never re- 
ally go away." Possibly, the "soft- 
ware" makes us crave our drug, 
and by "running the system," it 
perpetuates abnormalities in the 
"hardware." If this is the case, it's 
quite a cage we inhabit, DO 



One of medicine's best-kept secrets? 

By Gary Null 

An anist's 

Image of haw 


therapy wait(s: 

EDTA mnlecules 

(the blue 

dots) scrape 


(vellow) away 


arterial walls. 

For 30 years, chelation ther- 
apy has been the target 
of a bare-knuckled at- 
tack from nearly every camp in 
the medJcal-indListnal complex — 
professional organizations, med- 
ical journals, government regula- 
tory boards, and the insurance in- 
dustry. The reason; II provides a 
safe, effective, and inexpensive 
alternative to the drugs and sur- 
gery used to treat illnesses such 
as heart disease. In other words, 
chelation therapy threatens the vi- 
ability of some powerful indus- 
tries, including the muitibillion- 
dollar-a-year cardiovascular and 
coronary^bypass field. 

As long as the attack contin- 
ues, the human price will be 
high indeed. Chelation therapy 
could be offering treatment to mil- 
lions of people suffering from 
strokes, cardiovascular disease, 
Alzheimer's Disease, diabetes, 
and adverse reactions to environ- 
mental pollutants. In one study, 
people who received chelation 
therapy had a lower incidence of 
death from cancer than the gen- 
eral population. 

By the sheer will of its practi- 
tioners — and the compelling fact 
that It works— chelation therapy 
has begun to emerge from the op- 
pressive shadows of the medical 
establishment. Hundreds of thou- 
sands of people have now under- 

gone the therapy and thousands 
of scientific articles have been writ- 
ten about the process. 

How does It work? In its most 
common application, chelation 
therapy overcomes the arterial 
clogging that leads to angina in 
a simple but elegant way The syn- 
thetic amino acid EDTA is infused 
into the bloodstream; it then trav- 
els through the blood vessels and 
removes toxic heavy metals and 
deposits of calcium that help 
form plaque. As the level of plaque 
decreases, more blood can flow to 
the heart and body 

EDTA also, mobilizes the cal- 
cium in soft tissues, where it 
should not be stored, and moves 
it to the bones. By acting as a cal- 
cium-channel blocker, it may re- 
duce blood pressure by 10 to 20 
points and eventually eliminate 
the need for medication. It also 
strengthens bones by increasing 
their calcium production, thereby 
providing an indirect treatment 
for osteoporosis. 

Chelation therapy is hot only saf- 
er than the conventional methods 
of treating such ailments, but al- 
so far more powerful. Drugs and 
surgery address the symptoms of 
a disease, while chelation thera- 
py goes directly to its causes and 
reverses the damaging process- 
es, says John Sessions, M.D., a 
chelation practitioner. 

People with hardening of Uie ar- 
teries often experience an improve- 
ment of 90 percent or better 
r jm chelation therapy, according 
I Kirk Morgan, M.D., director of 
the Morgan Medical Clinic and as- 
sistant clinical professor at the Uni- 
versity of Louisville in Kentucky 
In his treatment of heart patients 
over the past ten years, some 
needed 40 treatments to improve 
while others needed only 10 or 
20. "There is increasing evi- 
dence," he says,"that chelation 
using EDTA is a relatively inex- 
pensive, effective, safe, and even 

preferential but often neglected 
technique for medical manage- 
ment of cardiovascular and relat- 
ed diseases." 

While the effects of bypass sur- 
gery are limited to heart function- 
ing, chelation therapy enhances 
the entire circulatory system by 
cleansing vessels and organs. 
Serafina Corsello, a chelation prac- 
titioner in Huntington, New York, 
says kidney vessels often have ath- 
erosclerotic plaque that weakens 
the body's cleansing process be- 
fore the heart shows symptoms. 
"By regulating the amount of 
EDTA and adding vitamin C to re- 
pair tissues, the little vessels of 
the kidneys get cleaned out," she 
says. "Then we can increase the 
amount of EDTA and ultimately 
clean the whole vascular system, 
the heart, kidneys, liver, pancre- 
as, and brain," 

People who are prone to 
strokes often have poor cerebral 
circulation, according to one 
large study, Chelation therapy 
can help prevent a stroke or less- 
en its effects by removing cal- 
cium and other mineral deposits 
from the arteries in the neck and 
head and helping to improve the 
vital blood How. 

In a retrospective study of 
1 9,000 people with peripheral vas- 
cular disease, 82.5 percent of 
those who received chelation ther- 
apy showed substantial improve- 
ment, says Albert J. Scarchllli, 
D.O., of Farmington Hills, Indiana. 
"We have seen dramatic re- 
sults with people who have vas- 
cular disease in the legs and who 
have sores from diabetes or oth- 
er causes," says Michael Janson, 
a Cambridge physician and direc- 
tor of the Center for Preventive 
Medicine on Cape Cod. "Some of 
them had ulcers that weren't heal- 
ing for up to a year that started 
to heal after chelation therapy.". 
In fact, diabetes responds 
well to chelation because the dis- 


ease generally involves the arter- 
ies. The therapy may decrease 
the reed for more insulin by open- 
ing up the insulin receptors. Pom- 
pano Beach, Florida, internist 
Dan C. Roehm, for example, 
took one patient off 60 units of in- 
sulin after only seven treatments. 
"i ttiought tliis was unusually 
good," fie says. 

Cfielation may also be effec- 
tive against a slew of other illness- 
es, including macular degenera- 

safer, surer 

suraery or 
drugs for a 
Ills, eqieciallv 
heart and 

tinn (a disease that causes blind- 
ness and that many ophthalmol- 
ogists believe untreatable), 
scleroderma, hypertension, arthri- 
tis, Alzheimer's disease, multiple 
sclerosis, and high cholesterol. 
And yet, despite the evidence, 
the medical establishment has ma- 
ligned chelation therapy ever 
since articles about the treatment 
first began to surface. "For sev- 
eral years we have been admini- 
stering intravenously to patients 
with advanced occlusive vascu- 
lar disease 3-5 grams of EDTA. 
An accumulative experience 
with several hundred patients has 
demonstrated that overall relief 
has been superior to that ob- 
tained with othec methods," 

wrote Norman Clarl<e, M.D., direc- 
tor of research at Detroit's Provi- 
dence Hospital and a pioneer in 
EDTA's use in treating heart and 
circulatory diseases, in a 1960 
American Journal of Cardiology 
article. "The treatment of athero- 
sclerotic vascular complications 
with chelation agent EDTA is sup- 
ported by a large volume of infor- 
mation," he asserted. 

Clarice's research unleashed a 
vigorous controversy that has con- 
tinued to this day, raising serious 
questions; Is the controversy 
based on facts about chelation or 
on a reluctance by medical 
associations to endorse alterna- 
tive treatments? If chelation ther- 
apy flourishes, after all, costly pro- 
cedures such as bypass surgery 
and expensive drugs may be hard- 
er to marl^et. "Herein lies the dan- 
ger," says Corsello. "We are cre- 
ating less money for the pharma- 
ceutical industry, so why should 
they love us?" 

Indeed, mainstream medicine 
promotes the use of' dangerous 
drugs and invasive surgery in- 
slead of chelation therapy. For ex- 
ample, doctors encourage arthri- 
tis patients to use steroid medi- 
cations, which cause ulcers, os- 
teoporosis, and immune dysfunc- 
tion, even though they merely elim- 
inate symptoms. 

The detractors, for their part, 
lil<e to portray chelation therapy 
as a dangerous procedure. Clear- 
ly, however, the hazardous treat- 
ments are the more conventional 
ones, such as coronary bypass 
surgery The mortality rate tor by^ 
pass surgery is about 5 percent 
a year, and a large percentage of 
bypass patients may even re- 
quire additional operations. 

"Doctors do not realize that 
there are phenomenal risks to 
even the smallest surgical proce- 
dures when you're trying to re- 
move or strip off this cemented 
type of plaque {from blood ves- 

sels)," says Chhs Calapai, D.O,, 
a member of the American Col- 
lege of Nutrition and professor of 
family practice at New York Col- 
lege of Osteopathic IVledicine. 
"When you compare the risks 
from surgery to the absolutely nil 
possibilities of having adverse re- 
actions from chelation, it almost 
boggles the mind as to why doc- 
tors are constantly pushing for all 
these surgical modalities before 
trying .something like chelation." 
The most enduring myth 
about chelation is that it damag- 
es the kidneys, but studies show 
it actually improves kidney func- 
tion. Sessions, for example, has 
worked with dialysis patients 
whose kidneys initially functioned 
at only 5 percent of their capacity. 
After treatment, he says, "they 
were able to cut down on their di- 
alysis from three or four times a 
week to one or two times." 

In recent years, chelation has 
begun to win a few rounds of its 
own. A precedent-setting state Su- 
preme Court decision in Florida 
supported a doctor's hght to use 
chelation. In addition, the Food 
and Drug Administration finally 
gave the go-ahead to two clinical 
trials of chelation therapy at the 
Walter Reed Army Hospital and 
the Letterman Hospital. Those 
studies were put on hold when 
funding dhed up (and a pharma- 
ceutical-company backer pulled 
its promised support), but as 
more and more people turn to al- 
ternative treatments, and evi- 
dence mounts of chelation's effec- ■ 
tiveness, another source of fund- 
ing may come forward to com- 
plete the studies, if the findings 
are positive, EDTA may be ap- 
proved for more uses, and insur- 
ance companies would begin to 
cover the procedure, making 
chelation therapy available to mil- 
lions of Americans. 
And it wouldn't be a moment 



Some exciting alternatives to Jurassic mania 

By Gregg Keizer 

I've had it up to here with dino- 
saurs. Jurassic Park's comput- 
er-animated creatures may 
have been the stars of the show, 
but if I can't get them to appear 
inside a PC or videogame with 
the same realism i saw on the sil- 
ver screen, I'll take a rain check. 
I'll settle for fish or aliens or space- 
ships instead. 

El-Fish, another title from the 
company that specializes in off- 
beat software — SimLife. SimAnt, 
SimSomething-or-other-HS the cur- 
rent substitute for thunder lizards 
on my PC. A combination aquar- 
ium builder and fish breeder, El- 
Fish is not only great fun, but 
great to just watch. These fish 
look almost as real as those chil- 
dren-stalking Vsiociraptors. 

Building a virtual aquarium in 
El-Fish Is a lot like a visit to the 
pet store. You can populate it 
with all kinds of junk, pick the back- 
ground, set the color of the peb- 
ble-strewn bottom, and add 
plants and coral and rocks. But 
this package's real entertainment 
fIbMaxIl' comes from building fish. Like 
EI-flsH, Maxis' SimLife. El-Fish lets you 
HCnfflllE play a bit with genetics, though 
Ml fflrtrt in this case, the gene splicing is 
almost hidden. Here you simply 
select two species of fish, then 
ask the program to combine 
them for you. Not only do you get 
to pick from the possible itera- 
tions, but you can also tell the pro- 

gram to quickly step the crea- 
tures through multiple genera- 
tions for some ultrafast evolution. 

Once you've got your fish, 
though, you need to make them 
move. El-Fish's animation is su- 
perb — among the best you'll see 
on a PC— but to get that look, 
your computer has to do some 
hard work. On a run-of-the-mill 
386-based PC, El-Fisli can take 
several hours to generate the im- 
ages necessary to animate a sin- 
gle fish. On a more powerful 486, 
that time is cut to mere minutes. 

The wait is worth it, even if you 
have to keep your PC running over- 
night. El-Flsh's creatures move nat- 
urally, especially when they swim 
in three dimensions, not two. It 
might not be quite as much fun 
as watching lawyer-munching di- 
nosaurs, but it's close. 

If scrutinizing sea creatures 
isn't combative enough, you 
might want to try Space Huik, an 
Electronic Arts science-fiction 
game that features an almost- 
familiar plot. This PC' strategy ti- 
tle may be based on a board 
game, but it owes more than a 
nod to the first two episodes of 
the Alien f\\m trilogy 

You run squads of Space Ma- 
rines through a series of huge 
spaceships, ferreting out aliens 
that look like the beetle-browed 
creatures that Sigourney Weaver 
and Tom Skerritt faced on the Nos- 

tromo. Screens show the point of 
view of each Marine, weapons 
range from bladed gloves to ex- 
plosive-tipped assault guns, and 
movement-sensitive radars pin- 
point the nasty Genestealers. The 
action is fast and fierce, with am- 
bush a constant problem. Remi- 
niscent of the ground-breaking 
Wolfenstein 3-D in places, you 
give orders to your men, move 
them through corridors, and con- 
duct missions that put Alien to 
shame. Where else but a game 
would you destroy your own men 
to keep them from falling into en- 
emy hands? Space Hulk is top- 
notch science-fiction entertain- 
ment on the PC. 

A lot less intense but still en- 
joyable, Acoolade's WarpSpeed, 
a shoot-'em-up videogame set in 
space, is a nice diversion from 
fish and foul-smelling aliens. Avail- 
able for the Sega Genesis or Su- 
per Nintendo systems, Warp- 
Speed's cockpit perspective 
looks like LuoasArts' X-Wing on 
the PC. You stare out the front 
screen of your ship and blast the 
enemy vessels that come into 
your line of fire. Long-range scan- 
ners plot the position of the ene- 
my ships, and your fighter carries 
blasters, cannons, and missiles. 
No thinking here, just quick reflex- 
es and steady fingers on the con- 
trol pad. And not a Tyrannosaur- 
us rex in sight. IDO 


NASA asks the public what it wants from its' space program 

By Leonard David 

Information is the currency of de- 
mocracy," consumer activist 
Ralph Nader once said. 
NASA pumps some $15 billion 
a year tlirough its bureaucracy 
For tfiat kind of casfi, you'd think 
tfie taxpayer wouid have some 
controi over where the space 
agency's nose cone is headed. 
But ail too often, that hasn't 
been the case. No less an author- 
ity than NASA administrator 
Daniel Goldin recently voiced the 


diplnmaDiR NASA 

went to its 

custoiners— U^. 


opinion that "we were losing 
sight of our customers, [t seems 
clear that our ultimate customers 
are the citizens of the United 
states— the people who pay our 
way — so we decided to go on the 
road and talk to our customers." 
Last November and Decem- 
ber, Goldin took part in a series 
of six "town meetings" held by NA- 
SA at North Carolina State Univer- 
sity in Raleigh; the University of 
Hartford in Connecticut; Indiana 
University and Purdue University 
at Indianapolis; California State 
University-Dominguez Hills in Car- 
son, California; the University of 
South Florida in Tampa; and the 
University of Washington in Seat- 
tle. At each locale,, citizens had 

the opportunity to express their 
opinions over open microphones 
and in written testimony 

NASA chose the sites primari- 
ly for their relative distance from 
the agency's major facilities, ac- 
cording to Douglas Isbell, a NA- 
SA special assistant for commu- 
nications and coproject leader for 
the town-hall gatherings. 

Each of the four-hour meetings 
began with short discourses on 
NASA's past, present, and future, 
and then the microphones 
opened up. Those stepping up to 
the mike — usually 40 to 50 peo- 
ple per meeting — got two minutes 
of air time. Others crammed 
their thoughts into a comment 
box hauled from town to town. 

All told, more than 4,000 peo- 
ple showed up. Hundreds more 
mailed in letters and postcards ex- 
pressing their views. 

In large measure, the town 
meetings served as congrega- 
tions for the space faithful. Ana- 
lysts found that about half of 
those taking part in tlie meetings 
claimed affiliation with the aero- 
space community; 12 percent 
were university students, teach- 
ers, and researchers; and the re- 
maining 38 percent identified 
themselves as Interested citizens. 

"I've been a taxpayer for thirty 
years, and this was the first time 
any government body or agency 
ever came to me to ask for my 
opinion on how that money 
should be spent," wrote David 
Skinnon of Meriden, Connecticut. 

The main point that emerged 
from NASA's encounter with its 
constituents is rather disquieting: 
While participants in the town 
meetings showed interest in all as- 
pects of the agency and its pro- 
grams, many declared that the 
public doesn't really know what it 
does in the first place. 

"1 would like to see NASA do 
more 'marketing' of how import- 
ant space exploration has been 

and will always be toward our de- 
velopment as a technology-de- 
pendent planet," said Don 
Crawley at the Raleigh meeting. 

Some participants suggested 
that NASA use public and cable 
television, computer bulletin 
boards and networks, and promo- 
tions with fast-food restaurants- 
even sponsor the half time show 
at the Super Bowl— to better con> 
municate with the public. 

"1 recommend that NASA's lo- 
go be on every can, box, or prod- 
uct that has evolved from NASA's 
programs ... it pays to adver- 
tise," wrote Suzanne Ridley of 
Long Beach, California, 

According to Isbell, of primary 
concern to the participants is mon- 
itoring and protecting the earth's 
environment — from incoming as- 
teroids as well as global warming. 
Citizens also called for NASA to 
better supply educators and stu- 
dents of all ages and social back- 
grounds with science materials. 

In addition, the agency should 
take up some of the slack in na- 
tional research and development 
funding, particularly as the U.S, 
defense budget declines, they 
said. And in every town, partici- 
pants told NASA that it should 
cooperate with the former Soviet 
Union to procure hardware and 
services more cheaply. 

And naturally, many partici- 
pants repeated what Americans 
have been saying since John 
Glenn orbited the Earth: "People 
asked when they could go into 
space and didn't want to be too 
old to go when the chance 
came," Isbell says. 

What will NASA do with the 
feedback it got from its custom- 
ers? "The new NASA is going to 
have a different set of priorities," 
based on what the agency 
heard at the meetings, Goldin 
told reporters in April, He consid- 
ers the forums a rousing success 
and wants to hold more soon, DO 


The Body Shop tries Living Water waste treatment 

By Kyie Roderick 

The Body Shop, 

known \w 

its eGo-friendly 

products, is 

testing a new. 

I g^ I iih more than 900 
I 1 1 I stores that peddle 
\J \0 some 400 skin and 
hair-care products worldwide, tlie 
Body Shop international has 
been pioneering "green" busi- 
ness practices with no-frills pack- 
aging and in-store environmental 
campaigns since its 1976 incep- 
tion. Anita Roddick, the compa- 
ny's founder, introduced a refill 
system in the first Body Shop in 
Brighton, England, and although 
the concept is imitated by other 
cosmetic companies today, Rod- 
dick's Shop continues setting 
new "eco-nomic" precedents. 

Now, fittingly the Body Shop is 
the first international skin- and 

more naturai 
system to tum 

an ecaiogically 
sound system. 

hair-care company to tackle one 
of the industry's chief environmen- 
tal challenges; successfully treat- 
ing raw factory waste on site 
with an experimental, ecological- 
ly sustainable system. Adjacent 
to the Body Shop's factory and ul- 
trafiltration plant on the Sussex 
Coast of England, the treatment 
system incorporates water, aquat- 
ic plants, bacteria, and microbial 
ecologies that live in a small green- 
house about 43 by 20 feet. 

While waterfalls aerate the 
waters, sculpted Flowform basins 
also bring much needed oxygen 
to the system by producing rhythm 
mical flows such as those found 
in rivers. Lush green plants with 

purple and yellow flowers clever- 
ly hide the engineering inside the 
ponds, including recirculating 
pumps. There are three distinct 
ecological zones in the system, 
and each contains 12,000 liters 
of water. These microhabitats 
work together to adapt to the 
waste stream and treat the 
waste product, which stays in the 
system for about 28 days. 

"The aim was to create com- 
plex food webs in each zone 
that would consume the factory ef- 
fluent as a food source," say 
Jane and David Shields, the sci- 
entists who designed the so- 
called Living Water Treatment Sys- 
tem. (The effluent, or waste, con- 
sists of plant oils, fats, and clay 
that are byproducts of the Body 
Shop's grooming products, as 
well as cleaners used in the fac- 
tory.) In the Living Water system, 
plants form a symbiotic relation- 
ship with bacterial, microbial, and 
invertebrate life to break down 
the waste. 

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, 
the Shields operate Living Water, 
a firm specializing in creating eco- 
logical treatment systems for in- 
dustrial effluents, agricultural 
waste, leachate from landfills, 
and sewage from households, ho- 
tels, and small communities. Liv- 
ing Water installed the Body 
Shop system in 1991 and has 
been monitoring it since it began 
operating in 1992. 

Like all cosmetic companies, 
the Body Shop produces liquid ef- 
fluents that have a chemical ox- 
ygen demand (COD) calculated 
at a certain value. {GOD could 
lead to low oxygen in the water; 
the higher the COD in the water, 
the less likely that it will be able 
to sustain bacteria, plants, and oth- 
er life.) The Body Shop's weekly 
COD of 3,470 milligrams per liter 
of water equates to an annual bur- 
den of about 20 tons of COD on 
the public sewerage system. 

According to Dr. David Wheel- 
er, general manager of environ- 
mental affairs for the Body Shop 
International, a filtration plant 
first removes about 90 percent of 
the organic load from the effluent. 
"Filters physically remove the in- 
gredients with high molecular 
weights, greatly reducing the 
amount of organic material going 
to the sewer," he says. The clean- 
er liquid then goes, to the sewer 
and the concentrated sludge is 
taken away by tanker for secon- 
dary treatment and disposal. 

Living Water handles about 5 
percent of the untreated effluent, 
"Although our effluent already 
meets the legal standard for 
GOD," Wheeler says, "our ideal 
would be to emit negligible GOD 
to fit in with the Body Shop's cor- 
porate policy of moving beyond 
conventional environmental man- 
agement and toward sustainabil- 
ity We know the system works, 
and if we make it bigger, it could 
handle far more," 

Toward that end, the Body 
Shop plans to enlarge the facility 
and collaborate with scientists at 
Portsmouth University to study 
the treatment system. With any 
luck, other cosmetic companies 
will take the Body Shop's lead. 
But dealing with factory waste 
will be a formidable task indeed. 

"The economic rules are 
rigged against sustainability," la- 
ments Wheeler, "It's going to 
cost us money. But we're commit- 
ted to becoming self-sufficient. Liv- 
ing Water will be the polishing sys- 
tem that helps make_ 
the water as 

Dnnmi amumE 


Omni Magazine Online is the place for shaping the future 

By Keith Ferrell 

By now, those of you with 
computers and modems 
may have tried our new 
service, Omni Magazine Online, 
available via America Online. We 
hope you have — our aim has 
been to create an electronic en- 
vironment that extends and en- 
hances the Omni experience, of- 
fering you opportunities to inter- 
act with our editors and experts 
in various fields, and most impor- 
tantly with each other. 

We think we've succeeded. As 
1 write this, we're only a couple of 
weeks away from fully launching 
the service, deep in the process 
of beta testing various features 
and sections, adding new items, 
lining up a host of resources, and 
preparing for our debut. 

That debut, as planned now, 
will take place over Labor Day 
weekend, with live reports from 
the WDrld Science Fiction Conven- 
tion in San Francisco. The reports 
will be filed online by Fiction Edi- 
tor Ellen Datlow, Associate Editor 
Rob Killheffer, and myself. Per- 
haps you joined us for a discus- 
sion of science fiction's big event. 
Or maybe you logged on a lit- 
tle later in September to talk with 
Rob about his "Consciousness 
Wars" feature in the October Om- 
ni. There are few topics in sci- 
ence more provocative and con- 
troversial than the nature of con- 
sciousness. Rob captured that 
controversy brilliantly in his mag- 
azine piece, and his online discus- 
sion of the article promised to be 
one of the hot events of Omni Mag- 
azine Online's first month. 

And those are just some oi the 
events we have planned for Om- 
ni Online's first month. The reali- 
ty will be even richer. 

But Omniand Omni Magazine 
Online are about the future, so 
let's glance at some of the events 
we have planned for the present 
and for the months ahead. 

For this issue, we're creating 
special sections of Omni Online 
where you can record your opin- 
ions about, for example, future mil- 
itary challenges and missions as 
described in Ben Bova's feature, 
"Future War, Future Peace." 

Perhaps more dramatically, 
we're taking the opportunity Om- 
ni Online offers to extend the life 
of a feature that was actually cre- 
ated online. "Bordercrossings," 
by Janet Stiles, came into being 
on the Internet, a telecommunica- 
tions network linking universities 
and institutions, companies, and 
services such as America Online, 
Janet gathered a panel and 
launched an E-mail debate on the 
relationship between the scienc- 
es and the humanities, Their de- 
bate, as you can see this month. 

Is fascinating and provocative. 

We feel sure that your Insights 
are equally fascinating, so we're 
turning the debate over to you. 
Log on to Omni Magazine Online 
and check out the Space/Cyber- 
space: Computers of the Future 
message board. Open the Border- 
crossings folder. Read the ques- 
tion Janet posed to our experts; 
then add your thoughts. You'll be 
able to watch the debate take on 
new life,, gather new insights, con- 
tinue to grow and expand in the 
weeks and months to come. 

And it will grow. The debate as 
published here was distilled 
from reams of entries and anno- 
tations, Next month, we'll post the 
whole Bordercrossings file, 
which will doubtless spur even 
more comment and controversy. 
We're looking forward to it. 

In next month's pages, we'll be 
taking a look at the Nostradamus 
phenomenon, from both scientif- 
ic and historical points of view, 
and you can bet that the online 
commentary will be just as lively 
as the magazine's coverage of 
this always-provocative topic. 
We're looking forward to your com- 
ments on this subject. 

Farther ahead, we'll be an- 
nouncing the winner of our cry- 
onics contest and exploring with 
author Charles Piatt some of the 
ramifications of the cryonics move- 
ment, This is sure to be one of the 
most hotly debated online topics 
of the year. 

And don't neglect our regular 
online features. The worlds of Con- 
tinuum and Antimatter are yours 
at the click of a mouse button. 
See what's happening in Ellen Dat- 
low's Science Fiction/Fantasy 
World, Tease your brain with a vis- 
it to Scot Morris's GameRoom, Or 
check out what's scheduled for up- 
coming Issues. And more. We 
look forward to meeting you in 
one of the many sections of Om- 
ni Magazine Online. DO 



A peek into the future? Plus, let's move Venus a little bit that way, and 

how pot scrubbers keep cows' stomachs full, if not clean 

"The expo will be avenue for 
educating the nation— for 
the future," says Myung Oh, 
chairman of the Taejon Inter- 
national Exposition, which 
opened August 7 in South 
Korea. "It will contribute to 
the internationalization of 
the Korean people, elevate 
the standards of our way of 
thinking, and educate and 
encourage them to become 
involved in science and tech- 
nology." In other words, the 
primary audience of the ex- 
po (sttie Korean people. 

At this tjme, 1 1 2 countries 
have agreed to participate in 
the g3-day expo (it closes 
November 7), sponsoring 
displays and special events 
on ttie main theme, "Tlie Chal- 
lenge of a f^ew Road to 
Development," and two sub- 
themes, one related to sci- 
ence and technology and 
the other to the environment. 
For example, exhibits vuill include a Recycling Pavilion 
constructed of some 50,000 glass bottles from ai'l over the 
world and a Recycling Greenhouse tfiat demortstraSes how 
to grow food using fertilizer from food w^tes. Korean gov- 
ernment agencies and private corrpanies rancpng fram Hyun- 
dai to Daewoo will also be represented. 

In keeping with the environmental theme, experimental 
six-passenger elecWc cars will ferry VIPs, the elderly and 
handicapped, and lost children around ttie 232-acre site, A 
fleet of 21 exhaust-free electric scooters will collect the 
expo's garbage, and two sleek solar cars that look more 
like spacecraft than Earthcraft will ply the site,-most!y giving 
rides to children. All of these vehicles as well as a Maglev 
{magnetically levitated) train were developed by a combi- 
nation of government and privately sponsored research. 

Not by coincidence, many of Korea's most important 
research institutions are located at Taedok Science Town, 
right across the road from the expo site. Imagine a town 
in which the United States has located the National Insti- 
tutes of Health, IMASA, the National Bureau of Standards, 
a couple dozen of the most important corporate research 
institutes, a university, and housing and shopping for more 

than 50,000 scientists, other 
employees, and their fami- 
lies. Thai would be the 
equivalent of Taedok, a city 
within the city of Taejon. 
Created in the 1970s, Ko- 
rea's premier scientific and 
technical complex is ttie 
cradle of accomplishments, 
including development of 
the country's first satellites, 
the switching system that 
modernized Korea's tele- 
phone network, and numer- 
ous advances in semicon- 
ductor technology 

When visitors sed< informa- 
tion on expo events and dis- 
plays at the computer moni- 
tors that dot the site, they'll 
also be able to learn about 
Taedok's research efforts 
and sign up for a shuttle-bus 
tour to some of the institutes, 
where displays and audio- 
visual shows will demon- 
strate everything from the 
therapeutic properties of ginseng, to converting a written 
message in Korean to a voice message in English. Visitors 
who are interested may even request visits to labs and 
meetings with the scientists. 

For all oi its accomplishments, however, South Korea is 
still classified by the W^rld Bank as a "developing" country 
(the first to host an international expo), and its annual per- 
capita income equivalent of $4,400 in the United States has 
a long way to go to reach that of neighboring Japan at 
S23,730. Only time will tell if Korea's Investment in this expo 
can create the momentum to propel the country into a 
more prosperous and productive future. 

Like any other international exposition, Taejon will be a hy- 
brid of carnival and culture as well as science and technol- 
ogy. Will this turn out to be the magic mix that inspires chil- 
dren to devote their lives to science and technology, and 
adults, government agencies, and corporations to redouble 
their current efforts? P. Chungmoo Auh, president of the Ko- 
rean Institute of Energy Research and of the Korean Solar 
Energy Society, is one scientist who thinks so. "After all," he 
says, "it is the scientifically minded ordinary people who 
will make the future of our country." — ELLEN HOFFMAN 




The story oi Shoeless Joe 
Jackson and the Black Sox 
scandal has fascinated 
baseball fans for most of this 
century, receiving unprece- 

out that Shoeless Joe hit .375 
during that Series, almost 20 
points better than his already 
awesome lifetime average of 
.356, Jackson's detractors 
argue that he didn't get his 
hits in the clutch. Bennett, 
who works for Bellcore 
in New Jersey, has attacked 
that assertion with a statis- 
tical system called Player 
Game Percentage (PGP), 
which he developed eight 
years ago with statistician 
John Flueck of the University 
of Nevada at Las Vegas. 

PGP takes into account 
the circumstances as well as 
the results of a player's 
at-bats, drawing a distribu- 
tion curve that gives 
real picture not just 
of how often a play- 
er hits, but when. 
"PGP," Bennett 
declares, "is spe- 


dented attention in the last 
few years through the film 
Eight Men Out and W. R 
Kins el la's novel named after 
the left fielder — the basis 
for the movie Field of Dreams. 
As the legend goes, Jackson 
and his Chicago White 
Sox teammates tanked the 
1919 World Series to the 
Cincinnati Reds, prompting 
an anguished young fan to 
cry, "Say it ain't so, Joel" 
Now statistician Jay Bennett 
claims that at least as far as 
Jackson himself was con- 
cerned, it probably wasn't so. 
Jackson's boosters point 

32 OMWI 

cffically geared to address 
the Shoeless Joe question." 

So what's the answer? 
Jackson's PGP score during 
the 1919 Series was actually 
68 percent higher thaii that 
of a typical .375 hitter — 
which, everyone will agree, is 
an outstanding hitter, indeed. 
In other words, during the 
Series, Jackson 
hit even better than he might 
have been expected to — 
especially in the clutch. 

"The guy got a raw deal," 
Bennett concludes. 
"He should be in the Hall of 
Fam&." — Bill Lawren 


few butchers in 

the Midwest have cut open 
the stomachs of cattle and 
discovered pot scrubbers 
inside. The steers haven't 
accidentally gobbled up 
the kitchen garbage. Rath- 
er, farmers have deliberate- 
ly fed the pot scrubbers to 
the beasts in an effort to 
decrease their appetite for 
costly, bulky hay 

While cattle may prefer 
hay, given their druthers, it 
actually isn't very nutritious 
for steers in feed lots being 
fattened up for hamburgers 
and steaks. But cattle 
need hay for the 
cughage required 
by the first of their 
four stomachs. 
Feeding them 
only high-pow- 
ered corn grain 
them ulcers. 
Aware of this dilemma, 
Sieve Loerch of the Ohio 
Agriculture Research and 
Development Center at 
Ohio State University in 

WDoster, Ohio, hit on an 
idea. "I saw research in 
which sheep fed on liquid 
diets developed the same . 
stomach problems, but 
whan the researcher put 
pot scrubbers in, it took 
care of the problem." 

Loerch wrapped each of 
six Tuffy pot scrubbers 
in digestible rtiasking taj: 
and fed them to steers. 
They opened up inside the 
first stomach and remained 
there, replacing much of 
the need for hay fiber. The 
pot-scrubber solution 
saves about S50 per animal 
during the five months they 
live in feed lots. 

Some farmers have read 
about his pot-scrubber 
technique and are using it,'. 
Loerch says, He's not 
sure how many, because 
he holds no patent on Us 
use, but several reports of 
surprised workers at 
slaughterhouses have 
come back to him. 

Maybe humans will use it 
to replace chocolate-cake 
cravings someday 

— Ben Barber-,i 


When we last heard from 
Alexander Abian, he wanted 
to blow up the moon to 
change the Earth's orbit. Now 
he's set his sights on 
Venus. Abian, a professor of 
mathematics at Iowa Slate 
University in Ames, thinks 
we should try to change 
Venus's orbit to create whai 

"You can't create life- 
sustaining conditions without 
changing the orbit," he says. 
By making Venus's orbit 
similar to Earth's, life- 
sustaining ecology will evolve 

And just how does Abian 
propose we change Venus's 
orbit? "We can shoot it with 
rockets," he says, "just hit it 
to change its trajectory." 
Even if our well-intentioned 

he calls a "born-again Earth" 
that can one day comfortably 
support humankind. 

Often referred to as the 
earth's "twin planet" because 
of similarities in size, mass, 
and substance, Venus is 
almost ideal for duplicating 
Earthlike conditions. The 
main sticking point is its orbit. 
While Earth stays about 93 
million miles away from 
the sun, Venus orbits within a 
paltry 65 million miles, which 
helps to make its average 
surface temperature a very 
inhospitable 90D' F. 

Scenarios that involve 
installing machinery on 
Venus and other planets to 
facilitate future habitation 
won't work, Abian insists. 

nudge sets it awry, "the 
chances of it colliding with 
Earth are nil." 

We've got to realize "that 
the present solar system's 
setup is not the only possible 
scenario," he says. "It's not 
even very satisfactory Our 
solar system is corrupt 
because of the inexorable 
and relentless bycles of 
epidemics and ecological 
disaster, and we've been 
brainwashed not to question 
whether nature has created 
the best possible setup." 

— Peter Caliban 

"The best thing about 
the future is that it comes 
only one day at a time. " 

— Abraham Lincoln 


More than a third of the U.S. 
physicians practicing today 
say that if given the chance 
to do it all over again, they 
would not go to medical 
school. Gigi Hirsch knows 
this malaise firsthand. After 
finishing her residency 
in internal medicine, she 
worked in a hospital emer- 
gency room for four years 
and experienced some 
burnout. While just in her 
early thirties, she seriously 
considered retirement. "For 
the first time in my career, I 
realized 1 needed career- 
development assistance,- but 
there were no resources 
available to me," she recalls. 
She went back to school 
for a three-year residency 
in psychiatry with one goal 
in mind: to "help doctors 
find more satisfaction in their 
professional lives." 

On July 17, 1992, she 
founded the Center for 
Physician Development affili- 
ated with Beth Israel Hospital 

in Boston, ateaching hospital 
of Harvard Medical School, 
and its department of 
psychiatry. Hirsch intends to 
raise awareness about chang- 
es and issues within the 
profession and how they 
affect doctors as a first step 
toward improving the U.S. 
health-care system. 

in addition to pursuing 
research on preventing 
physician burnout, her Cen- 


ter provides education, 
career counseling, support 
groups, and therapy "By 
coming in and talking about 
the things that are causing 
problems in their profession- 
al lives, physicians will 
be helping to change them- 
selves and the future 
practice of medicine," Hirsch 
says. — Steve Nadis 



Last year, fhe space- 
advocacy group Space- 
cause and 11 other 
organizations sponsored 
a I etter-w riling contest 
designed to spotlight both 
the crucial importance of 
the space program to the 
Uniied States and the 
danger that it faces in 
Washington. The contest, 
which included both chil- 
dren's and adults' divisions, 
required participants to write 
letters to their U.S. represen- 
tatives and U.S. senators 
in support of some aspect 
of the space program. 

Spacecause recently se- 
lected the contest winners, 
each of whom receive a free 
session at the U.S. Space 
Camp in Huntsville, Ala- 
bama, generously donated 
by that organization. In 
addition, the one letter 
judged best overall will be 
published in the magazines 
and newsletters of the 
sponsoring organizations, 
which have a combined 
circulation of more than 2 
million: the American Insti- 
tute of Aeronautics and 
Astronautics, Analog, Final 
Frontier, the International 
Association of Machinists 
and Aerospace Workers, 
Isaac Asimov's Science 
Fiction Magazine, NASA 
Tech Briefs, the National 
Space Society, Omni, Space- 
cause, Spacepac, Space 
Station News, and the U.S. 
Space Foundation, 

Adam Gulley, 11 , of 
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, 
. won both the children's 

In a leHer-writing centesf cosponsored by 

Omni, participants aslced their 

senators and representatives to support 

the U.S. space program. 

division and the overall 
prize On September 23. he 

wrote to Representative 
Louis Stokes: 

May I ash you to support 
Space Station Freedom? tl 
could sen/e as a laboratory 
for learning how to use the 
microgravity of space, 
making possible the materi- 
als which would help us all. 

Maybe we could even 
discover new ways of 
improving parts on cars. I'm 

sure you remember that 
before the space program, 
we didn't have very long 
mileage tires for cars. Now 
we do. Sateliites help 
us tall< to people and watch 
TV all over the world. 
If a wasn't for the space 
program, we wouldn't have 
these technologies. 

Freedom could help us 
answer many questions and 
problems. L4fe may find 
cures for terrible diseases 
that scare us such as AIDS. 

cancer, leukemia, and 

it has been estimated that 
the Space Station Freedom 
program will employ more 
than 70,000 people in at 
least 40 states. These jobs 
will contribute new ideas, 
new knowledge, and new 
products to our economy 
Perhaps even I will be 
among those employed 
because of Space Station 
Freedom. / hope to do 
something In the field of 
space someday But I still 
have a lot of studying to do. 

So please, Mr. Stokes, 
support Space Station 
Freedom.— Adam Gulley 

The 1992 elections sent a 
large number of individuals 
to Congress who don't favor 
space exploration in general 
and the space-siation pro- 
gram in particular. The 
Clinton administration, while 
supportive of a space 
station, will not fight as 
tenaciously for the program 
as tfie Bush administration 
did. The recent station 
redesign efforts have weak- 
ened the pro-station coali- 
tion and have strengthened 
the Congressional critics' 
reasons for canceling the 
entire program 

You may want to contact 
your elected officials to 
express your support for the 
space station. Address 
letters to: Representative 
(name), Washington, DC 
20515. and/or Senator 
(name), Washington, DC 
20510. You can speak 
to your elected officials by 
phoning (202) 224-3121 
and asking for your 
representative or senator. 



Millions of years after 
dinosaurs ceased to exist, 
Ihe most massive carnivore 
of all time still roamed 
the Amazon basin in South 
America, According 
to paleontologist Carl D, 
Frailey and Kenneth E. 
Campbell of the Natural 
History Museum of 
Los Angeles County, the 
monstrous survivor was 
Purussaurus, an ancient 
genus of alligator whose 
members stretched 40 feet 
long, stood eight fset 
tall, and weighed 10 to 12 
tons. "They were bigger 
than Tyrannosaurus rex," 
Frailey says. 

A few years ago, Frailey, 
a professor at Johnson 

■ County Community College 
in Overland Park, Kansas, 
uncovered a fossilized skull 

■ of PurussaurusWnWe excavat- 
ing a site along the border 
of Peru and Brazil. "The 

skull was really thick and 
heavy, and the eyes were 
well protected, which 
is typical of all alligators," 
Frailey explains. Like 
other alligators, Frailey 
thinks, this giant fed 
on turtles and land mam- 
mals living around the huge 
lake that once covered 
the central part of the 
Amazon basin, 

Frailey's fossil discovery 
indicates that the enormous 
reptiles persisted until as 
recently as 8 million years 
ago. Although paleon- 
tologists disagree as to the 
cause of the giant alligators' 
eventual extinction, Frailey 
suspects it has something 
to do with the disappear- 
ance of Ihe lake ecosystem 
in which Purussaurus lived, 
"Movements in ihe Andes 
may have drained the 
lake," he explains, "When 
that happened, the special- 
ized animals — including Pu- 
russaurus— thai had adapt- 
ed to that environment died 
out." — Jane Bosveld 

? Gace "o C noftop 
id^tei tha.T.-i.,mai,po.i,iL > 




New evidence for global 
warming has emerged from 
the peaks of tropical 
mountains. Researcher Lon- 
ny G, Thompson, a glaciolo- 
gist from Ohio State 

isotopes. According to 
Thompson, the ice on top of 
the Andes' Mt. Quelccaya 
has melted at a rate of 14 
meters per year over the past 
decade, "Since 1983, 16,6 
million cubic meters have 
been lost," he says. 

Some mountains in Africa 
also show signs of recession. 


University, traveled to Peru to 
measure the recession of 
glaciers on top of the Andes. 
He found that a snowcap 
there has the highest level of 
isotopic enrichment in 500 
years, an ominous sign of 
global warming. 

"Temperatures overall 
have increased by one 
degree centigrade since 
1976," Thompson says. 

By analyzing oxygen 
isotopes buried for centuries 
in ice, scientists can 
decipher how the glaciers 
have changed overtime. In 
recent years, the ice has 
melted so rapidly that it no 
longer holds these ancient 

According to a letter 
published in Nature, ML 
Kenya lost 40 percent of its 
snowcap between 1963 and 
1987, far exceeding previ- 
ously recorded shrinkage. 

Snowcaps in Tibet and the 
former Soviet Union also 
show signs of rapid 
recession. One site dis- 
played isotopic enrichment 
unsurpassed in 12,000 
years. — Andrew M, Thorpe 

"The fascination of sliooting 
as a sport depends 
almost wholly on wtiether 
you are at the right 
or wrong end of the gun. " 
—P G. Wodehouse 



Science is not about control, says Stu- 
art Ressler, a molecular biologist in Rich- 
ard Powers' ttiird novel, The Gold Bug 
Variations. "It is about cultivating a per- 
petual condition of wonder in the face 
of something that forever grows one 
step richer and subtler than our latest theory 
about it. It is about reverence, not mastery." 
Is the character who utters these words talk- 
ing about science or art? Isn't he mixing his 
categories, describing the scientific enterprise 
with words like wonder and reverence, words 
we use to describe a sunset or a Van Gogh 
painting? In fact, Ressler is out of step with 
those who believe that science is cold and ab- 
stract, art is warm and forgiving. There are 
those who separate science and art into two 
dominions, two hemispheres, two cultures. Sci- 
ence is truth; art is fiction. 

C. P. Snow in his famous 1959 Rede Lec- 
ture on the need for educational reform was 
the first to recognize the emergence of "two 
cultures." For Snow, the significance of the 
cultural divide between science and art was 
immense. "I believe the intellectual life of the 
whole of Western society is increasingly be- 

ing split into two polar groups," he said. 
While science, sometimes arrogantly, 
claimed a special license for dispensing the 
truth, art, sometimes contemptuously, 
smirked in the face of scientific discoveries, 
content to cultivate an art of pure aesthetics. 
Snow worried that not only the intellectual 
community, but the general population as 
well, would be ill prepared to understand the 
coming revolution 'wrought by advancements 
in electronics. Partial education, one that con- 
centrates on the values of one discipline at the 
expense of the other, could not possibly cope 
with the complex moral, social, and political 
issues that attend radical change. "Closing the 
gap between our cultures," he argued, "is a 
necessity in the most abstract intellectual 
sense as well as in the most practical. When 
those two senses have grown apart, then no 
society is going to be able to think with wis- 
dom. For the sake of intellectual life ... for 
the sake of Western society living precariously 
rich among the poor, for the sake of the poor 
who needn't be poor if there is intelligence in 
the world, it is obligatory for us ... to look 
at our education with fresh eyes." 



It w,as a conversation with Powers, whose 
Gold Bug Variations uses the strands of the 
DNA molecule to weave together Iwo love sto- 
ries and set them dancing to Bach's "Goldberg 
Variations," that led me to the idea of bringing 
together representatives ofthe two cultures. But 
how to do it? Silting one night on a North Caro- 
lina porch, the medium came to me, apropos 
to the topic and astonishingly simple, a place 
where language meets science and technol- 
ogy: electronic mail. 

Serving as moderator, I organized an E- 
mail panel with a writer, a scientist, and a schol- 
ar. The generally media-shy Powers agreed to 
participate, and I found a scientist, California 
Institute of Technology chemistry professor Jay 
Labinger, who had reviewed The Gold Bug Vari- 
ations in Caltech's journal Engineering & Sci- 
ence. Labinger hadn't used E-mail much but 
was enticed by the idea. For a scholar, I 
■turned to N, Katherine Hayles, president of the 
Society for Science and Literature, English pro- 


fessor at UCLA, and author of two books. 

Powers, Labinger, and Hayles had never met 
buf immediately began to call each other by 
first names, establishing a familiarity that 
seemed antithetical to the impersonal medium. 
My intent was to have the panelists discuss spe- 
cific questions about the two cultures: Had 
ihey seen the boundaries soften between sci- 
ence and literature? How had scientific theories 
such as quantum mechanics influenced litera- 
ture? Has the science of chaos figured in 
contemporary fiction? I underestimated their en- 
thusiasm and the allure of E-mail, Following the 
first question, the panelists revolted, and all I 
could do was observe the mutiny. 

The format was informal, responses written 
at leisure. A flurry of messages would be fol- 
lowed by days of silence. Twice, systems 
went down. Every message offered new ideas 
to explore, or raised another question. Powers 
suggested that there weren't two cultures, but 
"hopelessly many," A molecular geneticist, for 

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and lone-tiinecliafgs of S3, lor slapping a 







example', probably has as much trouble talk- 
fng to a theoretical astrophysicist as a literary 
critic has talking to a political historian, Hayles 
asserted that to say something in other words 
is to say something different. Labinger be- 
moaned that everything he said seemed to 
have been said before. 

Surprisingly the participants were more in- 
terested in looking for similarities between sci- 
entists and writers than differences. Hayles point- 
ed out that the value of chaos theory was that 
it offered new ways to think and write about liter- 
ature, while Labinger proposed that its value 
may be its impact on how scientists approach 
science. For Powers, chaos theory gives the writ- 
er the motive to write, because in it, the in- 
dividual counts a lot, and a small seed of 
words can still create a stir. 

Browsing through the library, Labinger 
found an essay by Lewis Thomas, a physician 
and a writer, he thought gave a particularly 
good reason to come down against the two cul- 

43 OMNI 

tures- The essay titled "On Matters of Doubt," 
was from the collection Late Night Thoughts on 
Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony: "To do 
this, I must try to show that there is in fact a 
solid middle ground to stand on, a shared com- 
mon earth beneath the feet of all the human- 
ists and all the scientists, a single underlying 
view of the world that drives all scholars, whatev- 
er their discipline — whether history or struc- 
turalist criticism or linguistics or quantum chro- 
modynamics or astrophysics or molecular ge- 
netics. There is, I think, such a shared view of 
the world. It is called bewilderment." 

Bewilderment is what we felt at the success 
of our experiment. We had provided an arena 
in which the two cultures could meet, had 
come to understand that science is not just a 
metaphor for fiction, but itself proceeds meta- 
phorically We had agreed that the world Is not 
a linear equation; big changes come from 
small initial differences. But Initial differences, 
as in those between the sciences and human- 


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Ti CULTURES: h rehder'S GUIDE 

TIONS]: A discovery by meteorologist 
Edward Lorenz ttiat demonstrates how 
a slight alteration In the Initial conditions 
of a weather system affects major al- 
terations in the behavior of the system, 
A butterfly flapping its wings over To- 
kyo causes hurricanes in Miami. 

scientific theory that looks at complex 
systems such as weather or stock mar- 
kets by mapping various patterns with- 
in the system. Rather than reducing the 
system to its component parts {watch- 
ing only the market activity of IBM), cha- 
os examines the system as a whole, 
tracking repetitions and variations that 
occur on different levels within the sys- 
tem (global markets, dally closing fig- 
ures, rate of exchange). Chaos has rad- 
ically altered what constitutes meaning- 
ful phenomena in scientific study. 

ATIVITY- The famous equation E^mc^ 
says that light travels at a constant 
rate of speed that is independent of its 
source and thai time and space are not 
absolute or independent phenomena, 
Relativity argues that there are many 
frames of reference from which abso-^ 
lute motion or rest may be determined 
and that no one point of reference is su- 
perior to any other. 

EMERGENCE: As we move from lower- 
level structures such as the neuromap- 
ping of the brain into high-level struc- 
tures such as consciousness, certain 
properties will emerge that can't be ex- 
plained even by the most rigorous ex- 
ploration of data at the lower level. Con- 
sciousness may be produced by a se- 
ries of chemical events, but it is not 
determined by them. Emergence is a 
process in which the articulation of the 
phenomenon is as instructive as obser- 
vation of the phenomenon itself. 

EMPIRICISM: Experience obtained by 
sensory perception is the only accurate 
source .of knowledge. Gravity exists be- 
cause we directly experience the ef- 
fects of gravity. 

EPISTEMOLOGY: The study of how we 
know the world around us, how we de- 
termine the nature of reality. To what ex- 
tent, for example, does intuition, logical 
analysis, or sense sensation play a 
part in determining what we think? 

REM: Revolutionized our concept of 
mathematics as a language of pure log- 
ic. Like any language, it is coherent on- 
ly within the system it seeks lo describe. 
No system can stand outside of itself, 
perch above the laws of its own opera- 
tion in order to see the whole at work — 
no system can ever completely de- 
scribe itself. Math can never exhaust 
the possibilities of its own language. 

LAPLACIAN DREAM: Influenced by 
the Newtonian idea that given approxi- 
mate knowledge of a system, we can 
predict the approximate behavior of 
that system, Pierre Simon de Laplace, 
an eighleenth-century mathematician, 
claimed that had he been standing 
with God at the moment of creation, he 
could have predicted the entire future 
of the universe. 

MANDELBROT SET: Commonly re- 
ferred to as the most complicated math- 
ematical object in the universe, the' set 
is a fractal which displays infinite and 
varied detail. It is an example of how 
complexity can be generated by a sim- 
ple act. 

OBJECTIVISM: External reality exists 
and can be ascertained through a de- 
tached and logical consideration of 
facts. Gravity exists because it can be 
verified by scientific experiments. 

PARADIGM: A.concept used by Thom- 
as Kuhn to explain bow and why sci- 
entific revolutions occur. Radical dis- 
coveries in science, he argues, pro- 
duce radical shifts all across the cultural 
terrain. Newtonian physics, for example, 
is based on the assumption that physi- 
cal laws are logical, consistent, and 
predictable, given sufficient data. In ad- 
dition to revolutionizing science, New- 
ton's ideas changed the way historians 
and artists and sailors saw the world. 

In this century, a new paradigm has 
emerged. Randomness, not certainty, 
is increasingly accepted as the natural 
state of the physical world. 

POSmVISM: A limited doctnne devel- 
oped by Auguste Comte around 1830 
which holds that the only reliable 
source of knowledge is that which is ob- 
tained by the direct observation of the 
material world. Through scientific exper- 
iments, we can explain how gravity 
works, but we can never explain why 
gravity exists. 

POSTMODERNISM: A descriptive 
term that has for the past two decades 
been used to describe everything from 
cartoons to war. As a reaction to intel- 
lectual traditions that attempt to explain 
the world using universal concepts 
such as Freudian models of the person- 
ality, Marxist theories of economics, or 
the cause-and-effect explanations 
used by historians, postmodernism 
sees life in the late twentieth century as 
a series of disconnected events, a smor- 
gasbord of narratives or discourses 
that compete for attention. No one sys- 
tem of thought can ever account for the 
infinite diversity of modern life. Science, 
for instance, does not offer a better or 
more accurate description of reality 
than fiction, only a different one. 

PRIVILEGED: Based on the assumption 
that words derive their meaning in part 
from their association with opposite 
terms (such as good/evil, reason/in- 
stinct, intellect/emotion), a privileged 
term is one that for cultural reasons is 
judged to be superior. Reason is bet- 
ter than instinct, 

Both challenge the notion that scientif- 
ic investigation can discern all proper- 
ties of a system. Quantum deals with 
the fundamental instability of subatom- 
ic particles. Heisenberg proposed that 
we can never know with complete cer- 
tainty both the position of a particle and 
its movement at the same time. At 
best, knowledge is founded upon the 
principles of probability, not certainly. 


Outdoor Optics 
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itles, may only be a matter of percep- 
tion. We had crossed the barriers of our 
professional disciplines and found 
some mucii-needed common ground, 
We liad become a little wiser, as C. P. 
Snow hoped we would. And ail we had 
to do was sit back, listen, and cultivate, 
in Ressler's words, "a perpetual condi- 
tion of wonder." What could be simpler? 

3 NOV 

From; IN%"@iris. .uncg.edu" [DMNI] 

In the now famous Rede Lecture deliv- 
ered at Cambridge in 1959, C. P. 
Snow proposed what's come to be 
known as the "two culture" theory. Do 
you believe there are "two cultures," 
and one of humanities? 

4 NOV 

From: IN%"@XHMEIA.Caltech, Edu" 

Whether or not Snow's proposal was val- 
id 30-odd years ago, it may be less so 
today. There certainly appears to be 
much greater awareness of scientific 
themes and issues represented in non- 
scientific writing, both serious and 
mass market. Whether this indicates a 
real integration of the "two cultures" or 
simply superficial name dropping 
where the significance of the scientific 
reference is limited to placing the ac- 
tion into context, or even just to show- 
ing off the author's erudition, is not so 
clear. If tiie requirement for scientific lit- 
eracy is a complete and deep under- 
standing of, say, the Second Law of 
Thermodynamics (an example Snow 
used), perhaps many nonscientific au- 
thors would fall short. 

One issue that I find particularly trou- 
bling as a scientist is not wheth^ the num- 
ber of cultures is two or one, but wheth- 
er science is thriving as a culture at all. 
There has been a growing tendency to 
equate science with technology and to 
demand that scientists turn their efforts 
toward applied problems with short- 
term promise. Is this a "cultural" issue? 
1 was really struck by a recent article in 
Chemical and Engineering News, the 
weekly news journal of the American 
Chemical Society. In discussing the 
trends toward targeted, technology ori- 
ented RSD, a'-former Presidential sci- 
ence adviser was quoted as saying 
that science is currently undergoing a 
"paradigmatic shift," That phrase is as- 
sociated with science historian Thomas 
Kuhn, referring to scientific revolutions — 
an elegant illustration of the cultural 
side of science, I found its use in this 
context strangely upsetting: Not only 
are we going to downgrade science as 
a culture,, but we'll add insult to injury 
by ripping off a phrase intended to de- 
scribe cultural changes and use It to re- 

fer instead to cultural collapse, {Talk 
about intellectual inflation: Paradigms 
ain't even worth 20 cents these days,) 
From a strictly practical point of 
view, there are strong arguments 
against overemphasizing applied re- 
search—if all we do now is try to exploit 
the basic discoveries of the last x 
years, what will we have to work on x 
years from now? However, I think the 
implicit assault on the cultural side of 
science is fundamentally even more dan- 
gerous. For years 1 have been hearing 
pundits in my own field tell me that chem- 
istry is a "mature science," That 
seems reminiscent of the state of phys- 
ics toward the end of the nineteenth 
century, when all that was left to do was 
"add the next decimal place," To start 
thinking of science as just a box of 
tools whose basic forms have been 
perfected and whose major importance 
IS what we can make with them would 
be much the same as dismissing the im- 
portance of literature and art, (Aren't 
there enough books and paintings out 
there already?) Either would be a dra- 
matic demonstration of our complete 
stagnation as a society, 1 think it's 
more than a coincidence that we see 
increasing pressure on funding for 
both truly basic scientific research and 
arts and humanities at the same time, 
I seem to have digressed a bit. Per- 
haps, though, this leads me back to an 
argument for one culture, whose goal 
is basically to understand how the 
world works, a quest that encompass- 
es both humanistic as well as scientific 
aspects — to use a distinction that the 
two-culturist might make. 

1 don't think there is much fundamen- 
tal difference between the way we 
seek to gain understanding of scientif- 
ic and humanistic matters; perhaps 
this says nothing more than that scien- 
tists' and nonscientists' minds work pret- 
ty much the same, it may be notewor- 
thy that, along with the perceived in- 
creased scientific content of nonscien- 
tific writing, there seems to be an in- 
crease in attention to the human side 
of scientific research. The American 
Chemical Society has recently institut- 
ed a major series of monographs titled 
Profiles. Pathways, and Dreams: Auto- 
biographies of Eminent Chemists. This 
increased interest in the personal as- 
pects of science and the lives of sci- 
entists probably began with Watson's 
The Double i-!eiix. and it may be mak- 
ing too much of it to cite it as evidence 
for"homocuituralization" (how's that for 
a neologism?) rather than a somewhat 
elevated version of Lifestyles of the 
Rich and Famous. If there are or have 
been two cultures, I think they are pro- 
gressing toward convergence. 

4 NOV 

From; IN%"@inB.uncg.edu" [OMNI]. 
What role has literature played in Influ- 
encing cultural trends? 

4 NOV 

From: IN%"@XHMEIA. Caltech.edu" 

My daughter has a poster with mock fi- 
nal-exam questions; one of them, for phi- 
losophy, runs something like: "Discuss 
the Universe. Be concise," This ques- 
tion reminds me of that, more than a lit- 
tle. I really don't know how lo answer it 
at this point in our electronic conversa- 
tion. For now, I say that culture repre- 
sents the quest to understand the 
World (capital W), Or, as Rick quoted 
Wallace Stevens in Gold Bug, "Life con 
sists of propositions about life." Tc 
gain that understanding, to decide on 
the validity of those propositions, re 
quires as much data as we can possi 
biy acquire and process — far more 
than we can get from first-hand experi- 
ence. Literature is just one — although 
in many ways the best — of the available 
sources for that data. 

5 NOV 

edu" [Powers] 

Two cultures? The answer to that one 
depends a lot on the gauge you set on 
"culture." At fine magnifications, we prob- 
ably want to talk not about two cultures, 
but about hopelessly many. As far as 
common cultural currency, a molecular 
geneticist probably has as much trou- 
ble talking to a theoretical astrophysi- 
cist as a poststructurallst literary critic 
has talking to a political historian. In 
fact, scientist friends of mine have com- 
plained to me that they sometimes 
have trouble following more than half of 
the articles in technical journals devot- 
ed to their own discipline. So where do 
you set your focus? About halfway up, 
I still see a rather formidable barrier to 
mutual intelligibility. As Jay rightly 
points out, many scientists and most hu- 
manists lack a deep understanding of 
the Second Law (which may, for the 
faint hearted, be a good thing). And of 
those who do have a complete grasp 
on it, few again will be readily conver- 
sant in Chaucer or Milton, let alone the 
texts these dead white males took for 
granted. It's a funny kind of formulation, 
because the population at large may be 
neither particularly positivist/empirical 
nor especially literary/artistic. 

There are as many philosophical align- 
ments as there are ways of being alive. 
I suspect that most cultural allegianc- 
es are pragmatic hybrids of several po- 
sitions. But what the question really dis- 
guises, 1 think, is an anxiety about wheth- 





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er some kind of profound and fundamen- 
tal split has opened up in the way we 
look at the world at the lowest magnifi- 
cation. Whether knowing the world 
from one angle precludes seeing it 
from the other. Whether empiricism or 
experimentalism is somehow inimical to 
whatever humanist intuitionism is sup- 
posed to be "science's" opposite: 
Here I am with Jay. The similarities in 
the ways we all attempt to solve expe- 
rience are, in the wide lens, probably 
more important than the differences. My 
humanist friends all seem to be more 
or less well versed in the program of re- 
peatable and testable observation if not 
the specifics, and I have never met a 
scientist who did not respond in some 
degree to irony, lyricism, metaphor— 
the whole arsenal of literary devices- 
even without knowing all the names of 
the tropes. 

Vife choose between measurement or 
interpretation in describing what it 
means to be alive, but that Is no cause 
to fear that society is necessarily going 
to fissure intractably down the length of 
that dichotomy. We are all, to differing 
extents, capable of dual citizenship, bi- 
lingual. The brain, if my layman's under- 
standing of recent research is correct, 
converses in both registers. 

As fqr the cultural variety that 
swarms the pettis at narrower gauges, 
I'm all for it. "Multlculturalism" is the cur- 
rent buzzword for those whose job it is 
to decide if the world Is going to make 
it, We can not only survive plurality — 
we need It. 

Literature's role In culture? You're ask- 
ing a person with a strong bias. 1 
would say, at Its best, literature can,be 
a fractal map of that multiplicity, at a 
scale of almost one inch to the inch. 

1 7 NOV 

From; IN%"@umaxc.weeg.uiowa,edu" 

I've thought a lot about the two-cultures 
divide, having found myself straddling 
it for quite a few years now. There are 
a couple of contexts in which it seems 
to me useful to think about two cultures, 
One Is language. The second, related 
to it, is institutional—how people going 
into literature and chemistry, say, are 
trained, and what kinds of assumptions 
they absorb more or less unconscious- 
ly from that training. In fact, I think that 
the "two cultures" construction has an 
institutional basis. Why did Snow 
choose literature and science as rep- 
resentative of different styles of 
thought, and not, say, anthropology and 
home economics? 

After a bit of research on the back- 
ground of Snow's famous Rede Lec- 
ture, I decided it was basically because 

of a dramatic shift In Anglophone aca- 
demic curricula. Until about 1920, 
what It meant to be educated was to be 
literate, in the sense that John Milton or 
Matthew Arnold would have understood 
the term — to know the great works of liter- 
ature (Including philosopTiy) in one's 
own and other languages and to be 
able to refer to them fluently and easily 
in conversation and writing. 

Gentlemen knew languages and lit- 
erature—or at least that was the myth, 
(Gentlewomen presumably knew nee- 
dlepoint). Gentlemen {and certainly ' 
gentlewomen) did not necessarily 
know science, which until well into the 
nineteenth century was regarded as too 
technical and In some cases too grub- 
by to be really high lone. 

All this changed dramatically around 
the turn of the century, when leading pro- 
gressive institutions in America and Eng- 
land began to put science and mathe- 
matics, rather than Latin and literature, 
as the center of their curricula. By the 
1950s when Snow gave'his lecture, the 
shift had largely been accomplished, 
and the real power in academic curric- 
ula in many institutions was scientific rath- 
er than literary. Hence it made sense 
for Snow to talk about the two cultures 
in terms of education, insisting that lit- 
erati should know the Second Law no 
less than scientists should know Shake- 
speare. It is more historically correct, I 
think, to talk about the two cultures as 
an educational and institutional issue 
than an epistemological divide, be- 
cause it's for sure that ways of thinking 
and knowing are as diverse as the hu- 
man population, as Rick pointed out. 

So what difference does it make 
that chemists receive a different kind of 
education than English majors? One of 
the biggest differences i see is how lan- 
guage is used, constructed, conceptu- 
alized, thought about or not thought 
about. As a result of their training, many 
scientists hold what I call the gift-wrap 
idea of language. They see language 
as a gift wrapping that I use to hand an 
ideate you. You receive the package, 
unwrap it. and take out the idea. In this 
view, the wrapping is purely Instrumen- 
tal, a way of getting an idea from me to 
you. The idea is what counts, not the 
wrapping. People trained in literature 
tend to think this view of language is 
completely wrong. They deeply believe 
that the language constitutes and 
does not merely express the idea. Be- 
cause no two verbal formulations can 
ever be identical, to say something in 
other words is to say something differ- 
ent. Literary people believe that the lan- 
guage counts and that it is important to 
say something in precisely the right 
way. They don't trust their expression 


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idea of a well-armed, highly mobile 
International Peacekeeping Force, The 
reaction in America and Europe was to 
utilize existing military alliances such as 
NATO to intervene in regional conflicts 
such as the Serbian-Bosnian blood- 
bath. Thus came ttie NATO fiasco In the 
Balkans in the later 1990s. 

What troubled the United States and 
Europe was the spread of ballistic-mis- 
sile technology to the Third World. 

During the Iran-Iraq war of 1980- 
1988, both sides fired ballistic missiles, 
Though the missile warheads contained 
"only" high explosives, this' was the har- 
binger of worse to come. After Iraq's 
humiliation In the 1991 Persian Gulf 
War, U.N, inspectors verified that Iraq 
was developing both nuclear and poi- 
son-gas (chemical) warheads and im- 
proving the range and accuracy of its 
ballistic missiles. 

By the mid 1990s, no fewer than 16 
Asian, African, and Latin American na- 
tions either possessed or were worl<ing 
to develop nuclear, chemical, or biolog- 
ical weapons. Israel, India, Pakistan, 
and South Africa admitted to having nu- 
clear capability. In 1993, North Korea 
quit the Nuclear Nonprollferation Trea- 
ty and began selling weapons-grade en- 
riched uranium to Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, 
Libya, Argentina, Brazil, and others. 

And despite treaties banning chem- 
ical-warfare-weapons development, two 
Russian scientists disclosed in 1993 
that Moscow was pursuing research on 
sophisticated new binary nerve gases. 
Both received long prison sentences. 
The United Slates, China, North Ko- 
rea, and several European nations 
were all selling ballistic-missile technol- 
ogy worldwide, often under the guise 
of exporting knowledge and hardware 
for space exploration. In a very real, 
and ultimately tragic, sense, the United 
States was selling its potential enemies 
the means for attacking its own cities. 
As early as 1983, the United States 
and its NATO allies had begun work on 
defenses against ballistic missiles: the 
Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbeci 
Star Wars by the news media. Once the 
Soviet Union broke apart, however, 
Washington slowed work on SDl in the 
belief that the missile threat to the Amer- 
ican homeland had evaporated. 

But although the Russians were dis- 
mantling most of their nuclear-armed mis- 
siles, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and sever- 
al other nations that had been part of 
the Soviet Union refused to give up 
their missiles— missiles with the range 
to reach the United States, 

Meanwhile, the situation in the former 
Yugoslavia escalated into full-scale re- 
ligious war Christians against Moslems. 
NATO's first attempt to control Ser- 

bian aggression was to enforce a "no 
fly zone" over predominantly Moslem 
sections of Bosnia. This had little effect 
on the slaughter talking place on the 
ground Little by little. NATO was 
drawn deeper Into the nigfitmare. 

NATO planes were shot down. Pilots 
and crewmen were murdered or held 
hostage. Rescue missions were attempt- 
ed, with ground troops attacking by hel- 
icopter. Within a year, a sizable MATO 
ground force — including significant 
American units — had established an en- 
clave in Bosnia, But the fighting contin- 
ued with no end in sight. 

At the same time, Turkey became em- 
broiled in the simmering war between 
Armenia and Azerbaijan in the former 
Soviet Union, while Greece moved to 
help the Macedonians who had de- 
clared their independence from Yugo- 
slavia and were threatened by Serbian 
invasion. Serbia claimed that Greece 
wanted to annex Macedonia to itself. Tur- 
key insisted that it could no longer sit 
by idly while Armenian Christians were 
slaughtering Azeri Moslems. 

The Armenians, remembering slaugh- 
ters generations earlier, appealed for 
Russia's help against the Turks, 

Both Turkey and Greece were NATO 
members. Both ignored the efforts of 
their feilow NATO members to negoti-. 
ate peaceful settlements. Russia threat- 
ened to intervene on behalf of the Ar- 
menians. If Russia attacked Turkey, the 
other NATO nations — including the 
United States — were bound by treaty to 
fight on Turkey's side. 

Isluclear war was imminent. 

It came, but to everyone's shock it 
happened in the subcontinent of India, 

Massive religious riots had been rock- 
ing India for more than a decade, pit- 
ting Hindu against Moslem (although 
Sikhs and other ethnic groups within In- 
dia also contributed to the mounting vi- 
olence). The rioting escalated Into a full- 
scale battle in the Rajasthan city of 
Jaipur, After several days of bloody 
street fighting, the Indian government 
called on the army to restore order. 

The government of Pakistan warned 
that if the Indian army fired on the Mos- 
lems of Jaipur, Pakistan would declare 
war. Fearing a nuclear strike, India 
launched four nuclear-armed ballistic 
missiles at Islamabad In an attempt to 
decapitate the Pakistani government. 

Two of the missiles reached Is- 
lamabad, Instantly killing nearly a quar- 
ter million Pakistanis. That night, Paki- 
stani air-force jets, coming In at wave- 
top level off the ocean, destroyed most 
of Bombay in a nuclear suicide attack. 

The world held its breath. Nearly 4 
million people had been killed in less 
than 12 hours. Two and a half million 

more would die within weeks from ra- 
diation poisoning, Injuries, disease, or 
starvation. Clouds of deadly radioactive 
fallout drifted across the world. 

It was the Russians who took the 
first step toward sanity. In an emergen- 
cy meeting of the U.N, Security Coun- 
cil, the Russian representative called for 
the United Nations to warn both India 
and Pakistan that they had overstepped 
the bounds of civilized behavior and 
any further warfare between them 
would be met by the full military force 
of all the United Nations' members, 

"We can no longer permit nations to 
resort to violence in settling their dis- 
putes," said the Russian delegate. "If 
"they attempt to do so, force must be 
met by overwhelming force." 

The Security Council voted unani- 
mously to establish a "peace patrol" to 
prevent further attacks between the two 
nations. This was the first step toward 
the creation of the International 
Peacekeeping Force, 

The peace patrol Included a massive 
naval task force centered on four Amer- 
ican aircraft carriers. A motley army 
drawn from more than a dozen nations 
occupied the border area between Pa- 
kistan and India. While neither Ameri- 
can nor Russian troops were deployed, 
U.S. Marines and Russian airborne 
troops backed up the U,N, border units. 

Critics argued that this show of 
force did nothing to solve the Hindu- 
Moslem conflicts that had triggered the 
nuclear exchange. The U.N, secretary- 

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general countered, "Our task is not to 
govern India; it is to prevent war." 

But the rioting had stopped, shocked 
into paralysis by the horror of Islamabad 
and Bombay, 

Thus was born the International 
Peacekeeping Force of the twenty-first 
century: an elite, highly mobile, special- 
ized force armed with the highest tech- 
nology the world could produce. 

It would have come to nothing, how- 
ever, if the Industrialized nations con- 
tinued their deadly trade in armaments, 

To her everlasting credit. It was the 
president of the United States who pro- 
posed a global halt to arms e!<ports. 
"We must stop building and exporting 
the weapons of death," she said in a 
televised speech. "The time has come 
to turn our swords into plowshares." 

The U.S. government instituted a mas- 
sive program to convert Its armaments 
industry into peaceful uses such as 
space exploration, transportation, Infor- 
mation services, and even — surprising- 
ly — new entertainment media such as 
virtual reality Weapons were still devel- 
oped and manufactured, but at a 
much lower level than before. Weapons 
exports virtually ceased. 

Gradually, under heavy pressure 
from the United States and the United 
Nations, the nations of Europe, Asia, 

and Latin America joined the worldwide 
arms-embargo movement. The effort to 
convert the arms industry to more use- 
ful pursuits resulted In a flowering of glob- 
al transportation and Information sys- 
tems and an expansion of international 
space exploration and development, in- 
cluding the global network of Solar Pow- 
er Satellites, 

The various national armaments cor- 
porations had linked themselves into mul- 
tinational combinations for many dec- 
ades. Much diminished now, they still 
continued to develop high-tech weap- 
onry for their national armed services — 
and for the new, growing International 
Peacekeeping Force. 

The IPF consisted of a permanent cad- 
re of highly trained personnel who 
formed a global quick-reaction force. 
This was backed up by units from the 
member nations of the United Nations, 
as needed. Thus, the IPF's quick-reac- 
tion force was often enough to stop a 
local war in its opening stages. If not, 
heavier units of troops, ships, and 
planes were loaned to the United Na- 
tions for the duration of the emergen- 
cy, under Security Council direction, 
much as was done in the Persian Gulf 
War of 1991. 

Though small, the basic IPF cadre 
was highly mobile and thoroughly pro- 

fessional. And it was armed with the high- 
est technology the world's industries 
could produce. 
The eyes and ears of the IPF was a 

network of orbiting surveillance satellites 
that could spot troop .movements, 
arms buildups, and even monitor elec- 
tronic communications anywhere in the 
world. Dubbed "peacesats," the surveil- 
lance satellites also carried command- 
and-control electronics systems that re- 
layed U.N, communications around the 
world virtually instantly 

To the greatest degree possible, the 
IPF depended on standoff weapons: 
small, inexpensive, "smart" missiles 
that could find and destroy the tanks, 
planes, artillery pieces, bunkers, and oth- 
er paraphernalia of aggressors. Often 
guided by lasers and directed from or- 
bit, these standoff weapons allowed the 
IPF to fight battles with minimum expo- 
sure and risk to their own personnel. 

The world's research laboratories al- 
so began to produce nonlethal weap- 
ons, beginning with simple copper fila- 
ments that could short out a city's elec- 
trical distribution systems. 

Electronic jammers capable of disrupt- 
ing military communications became a 
mainstay: "Defeat their communications 
and you defeat their attack," was cen- 
tral to the IPF credo. 

Nontoxic gas. optical flash devices 
that temporarily blinded attacking sol- 
diers, and other nonlethal weaponry be- 
came an increasingly important part of 
the IPF's arsenal. 

The goal of the IPF became warfare 
suppression. Us very existence helped 
to induce belligerent national leaders to 
the conference table rather than the bat- 
tlefield. When armed strife broke out, 
the IPF struck swiftly to stop the fight- 
ing as quickly as possible. 

The IPF's central operational doctrine 
was to destroy weapons rather than 
kill people. The standoff missiles went 
from "smart" to "clever" to "brilliant." A 
single small missile could locate and de- 
stroy an expensive tank or airplane 
with almost a one-to-one efficiency. 
Troops learned that it was unhealthy to 
be near these targets. The economics 
of warfare shifted decidedly in favor of 
the defense. 

Politically, the IPF was structured so 
that no nation was asked to disarm it- 
self. Indeed, the IPF depended on con- 
tingents from national armies, navies, 
and air forces to reinforce its own cad- 
re, when necessary. 

Gradually, however, nations began to 
shrink their defense establishments. Gov- 
ernments, especially in the democra- 
cies, came under increasing pressure 
from their people to reduce their outlays 
for the military. As national armies be- 

came smaller, the IPF's task of keep- 
ing the peace became easier. 

Not that is was ever truly easy. One 
of the IPF's earliest tests came when Ka- 
zakhstan and Russia massed troops on 
their mutual border. Both nations had 
nuclear-armed ballistic missiles with the 
range to reach any city in the world. The 
crisis was averted by frantic diploma- 
cy, backed by the IPF's destruction of 
both sides' surveillance and communi- 
cations satellites, which effectively blind- 
ed their generals, 

Immediately afterward, Russia and 
the United States began a cooperative 
program to build full-scale SDI defens- 
es in orbit. The system was eventually 
turned over to the IPF so that now SDI 
satellites protected every nation on 
Earth against ballistic-missile attack 
from anywhere. 

The central problem of the twentieth 
century, as far as international relations 
was concerned, had been that there 
was very little international law and even 
less enforcement of international law. Na- 
tions always had the option of going to 
war to gain what they wanted rather 
than to the V\farld Court, 

The IPF removed that option, or at 
least greatly reduced its attractiveness. 
The IPF provided a much-needed en- 
forcement arm. Increasingly, as the 

years wore on, international disputes 
were settled by the World Court. On 
those occasions when nations — or 
subnational groups — resorted to arms, 
the IPF suppressed the fighting and the 
issue went to the World Court afterward. 

The greatest threat came with the Sec- 
ond Cuban Missile Crisis. When post- 
Castro Cuba began to ami itself with bal- 
listic missiles, the United States threat- 
ened to invade the island and remove 
both the missiles and the Cuban gov- 
ernment. An IPF peace patrol of ships 
and planes was sent to the waters be- 
tween Florida and Cuba, with orders to 
prevent an American invasion. The 
United Nations demanded Uiat Cuba dis- 
arm under IPF supervision. 

Many in the United States insisted 
that America ignore the IPF resign 
from the United Nations, and take over 
Cuba. But cooler heads prevailed. 
Faced with virtually global disapprov- 
al, the United States backed down as 
gracefully as it could. The Cubans al- 
lowed IPF inspectors to remove frieir mis- 
siles. Peace returned to the Caribbean. 

Both the U.N. General Assembly and 
U.N. Security Council have continued 
to work very diligently to keep the IPF 
as small as possible, consistent with its 
task of suppressing warfare. There is 
the continuing fear that an internation- 

al military organization could somehow 
turn into a global dictatorship, By keep- 
ing the IPF small and maintaining na- 
tional military establishments, this fear 
of a global coup d'etat has remained 
little more than a background worry. 

Like the military establishments of the 
United States and other Western democ- 
racies, the IPF was originally created as 
a nonpolitical organization. And it has 
remained so. New recruits are trained 
in the nonpolitical doctrine of the IPF as 
hard as they are trained to operate the 
military hardware they employ. 

As the second decade of the twent\^ 
first century begins, the world looks for- 
ward to an era of peace. The trillions of 
dollars once spent by national govern- 
ments on armaments are now being 
spent on food production, education, 
housing, and scientific research. The 
causes of war and terrorism are being 
slowly but steadily removed from the 
global stage. 

Carved above the main entrance of 
the IPF headquarters is a Biblical proph- 
ecy: Nation shall not lift up sword 
against nation, neither shall they learn 
war anymore. 

After the bloodiest century in histo- 
ry, the peoples of the world are slowly, 
but steadily, making their way toward 
that new era. DO 

"Greetlngsl We have come with solutions to ail the world's problems. " 




" It is the year 20-somelhing — we don't 
know the exact date yet, but figure 20 
to 50 years from today — and your doc- 
tor has just given you some really bad 
news. That nasty little pain in your low- 
er abdomen turns out be serious. The 
doctor explains to you with great tact 
and kindness that, although medicine 
can now fix almost everything that can 
go wrong with the human body, there 
remain one or two really ferocious ail- 
ments that cannot be cured. You won't 
be in pain, he says. You won't even be 
bedridden, except at the very end — 
but the fact is that you have just six 
months left to live. 

Naturally you don't enjoy hearing 
that. It comes at a particularly bad 
time, you think, because now that you're 
approaching 90, you've just begun think- 
ing seriously about how you're going to 
enjoy your retirement years. Then the 
doctor clears his throat and says, "Of 
course, there is an alternative," 

That gets your attention right away. 
"Alternative?" you say. "You mean I 
don't have to die in six months after all?" 
The doctor purses his lips, profession- 
ally precise. "That isn't exactly what I 
mean," he says. "Your body is certain- 
ly going to die. There's nothing we can 
do about that; but that death doesn't 
have to be, well, fatal. You're a possi- 
ble candidate for a mind transplant." 

So a couple of weeks later you're un- 
dergoing tests in the best surgical hos- 
pital in your area. You're surprised to 
find out that most of the tests aren't med- 
ical. They're psychological, and they 
test things like your memory retention, 
your reflex speed, even your IQ, The 
CEO of your company comes by your 
hospital room with a dozen roses. 
There is a small flask of her best 1990 
Scotch hidden among the flowers, and 
when the nurses aren't looking, she 
shares a last drink with you. "You'll be 
back in the office in two weeks," she 
predicts, And then one morning they 
wake you up, give you a tranquilizer, 
slide you onto a gurney, and wheel you 
down to the operating room. 

They don't put you to sleep, only 
make you a little drowsy so you can 
drift off to sleep if you want to They do 
anesthetize your entire scalp, because 
the skin of your head is sensitive to 
pain, but the real outting-and-spiicing 
operation is going to be done on your 
brain, which has no nerve endings to 
feel pain. They've fixed it sc that you 
can watch the whole thing on a TV mon- 











Itor if you want to. (You're not at all 
sure you want to, but every once In a 
while you sneak a look.) You already 
have a good idea of what they're go- 
ing to do, because the surgeons and 
the computer people have gone over it 
with you, with a model of the brain. 
You're a little impressed with the num- 
ber of people in that operating room, all 
concentrated on you — two brain sur- 
geons, an anesthesiologist, four nurs- 
es ., . and five computer experts. 
That's a lot of highly trained specialists 
to be working on you, you think . . , 
but you can't help feeling a little lonely 
in that crowd. 

What they dc to you doesn't hurt. You 
feel a kind of gently pushing this way 
and that as they lift a flap of scalp to 
expose the skull, and you definitely 
feel the vibration as they cut the bone 
and lift it away You stop looking into 
the monitor at that point. You close 
your eyes and try to concentrate on think- 
ing about your wife and kids, all wait- 
ing in one of the hospital's lounges, 
along with a couple of people from 
your company. Maybe you even do 
drift off to sleep. . , . 

And while you're doing that you 
know the surgeons are exposing that 
tough lump of meat in the midsection 
of the brain that is called the "corpus 
callosum," You even know what the cor- 
pus callosum is, because they've told 
you that its half a billion fibers operate 
as conduits, passing information back 
, and forth between the two halves of 
your brain. 

Then the surgeons step back, and 
the computer people take over. They 
don't touch any scalpels themselves, 
They operate micromanipulators 
which gently slide a very dense and 
fine comb into the corpus callosum. The 
comb has seme hundred thousand 
tines, and each tine has a hundred thou- 
sand connections. The tines slip elasti- 
cally into the space between the fibers, 
until each fiber has made a contact 
with one or more of the connections. It's 
a mammoth job, but it is done non- 
destructively The whole thing takes on- 
ly about eight hours, 

And then they bandage you up and 
wheel you back to your own room, and 
you really do go to sleep. 

When you wake, you don't even have 
a headache— you're full of selective 
analgesics— and the doctor's there grin- 
ning at you. "Congratulations," he 
says. "Welcome to immortality." 

Oi course, that's science fiction — today. 
(But nuclear power, spaceships, tele- 
vision, and robots were also science fic- 
tion — once — and now they're all over 
the place.) 

The idea of storing human intelli- 
gence in some kind of machine is pret- 
ty old stuff in science fiction, almost as 
old as science-fiction magazines them- 
selves. One of the earliest writers to use 
the notion was Neil R. Jones, who pub- 
lished his short story "The Jameson Sat- 
ellite" in 1931, It told of a college pro- 
fessor named Jameson who. learning 
that he was scon to die, decided he 
would like something better than the usu- 
al funeral and burial. Like all coilege pro- 
fessors, Jameson was of course very 
rioh. (When college professors read 
this story this is generally the point at 
which they start laughing uncontrolla- 
bly ) So he took some of his money and 
built a spaceship in his backyard. 
When the professor did at last die, his 
executor loaded his corpse into the 
spaceship and fired it off into low 
Earth orbit. There Jameson remained, 
frozen solid, for a long time— 40 million 
years— until some wandering aliens 
called Zoromes discovered it and de- 
cided to recruit the professor into their 
band. So they surgically removed the 
brain from the frozen corpse, thawed it 

out and implanted it in a robot machine 
that resembled a breadbox with tentac- 
ular metal arms and legs. Then, re- 
named 21iylM392 by his new Zorome 
friends, the professor went on to have 
endless adventures in space. 

There were plenty of other such sto- 
ries, but almost all of them assumed 
you would have to store the physical, 
organic human brain in some kind of ma- 
chine, That seems pretty unlikely as a 
really long-range solution to the prob- 
lem of immortality, since, sadly, the hu- 
man brain is by its organic nature sub- 
ject to rather rapid decay {as well as be- 
ing afflicted with the steady deteriora- 
tion that costs each one of us a few thou- 
sand brain cells dead or decrepit each 
day). When computers came along, 
they offered a mere hopeful place to 
store Intelligence. 

We don't have any computers today 
that can come anywhere ciose to the 
capacities of the human brain — a typi- 
cal late twentieth-century computer has 
roughly the "brainpower" of a housefly — 
but the things keep getting better, and 
they do it very fast. Between the early 
days of this century, when the first me- 
chanical adding machines began to be 
useful, and the arrival of electric calcu- 
lators during the World War II era, ma- 
chine computation increased a thou- 

sandfold in speed and capacity. Then 
electronic machines came along, so 
that between 1940 and 1980 there was 
an additional millionfold Improvement as 
vacuum tubes and then transistors 
took over. Since then, with afoeleraling 
miniaturization and the use of advanced 
integrated circuits, the curve continues 
to steepen, while future computers- 
using such techniques as quantum de- 
vices, diamond semiconductors. Increas- 
ing miniaturization down to the atomic 
scale — suggest that computing power 
will continue to grow at its historical 
rate or better for an Indefinite time into 
the future. 

The human brain, with its 100 billion 
neurons and roughly 100 trillion connec- 
tjons, requires a lot of computing pow- 
er, to be sure . , , but not more than 
computers early in the next century 
should provide. 

Given the probable existence of 
such hypercomputers within the life- 
times of many of us now alive, how do 
we go about getting all the memory, 
speed, and flexibility of a human mind 
into the machine? 

That's where the corpus callosum 
comes in. Suppose that a neural comb 
like the one we have described is 
slipped into it and connected to an ex- 
ternal computer At first that computer 
does- nothing but pass the brain's traf- 
fic from one hemisphere to the other 
and eavesdrop on it. It retains what it 
learns. Over time, it constructs a mod- 
el of what goes on in your brain. More 
than that, the computer can put enough 
signal on each connection point to over- 
whelm the normal traffic if it needs to 
so that, when the model is nearly com- 
plete, the computer begins to insert its 
own messages into the flow. The com- 
puter becomes an auxiliary brain; 
then, when the original, organic brain 
begins to deteriorate, the computer 
smoothly assumes its functions. 

And when the brain at last dies, as 
all organic things must, your mind is com- 
plete and functioning- in the comput- 
er Optical, auditory, chemotactio, and 
other sensors let you know what is hap- 
pening in your environment; speech syn- 
thesizers and graphics programs let 
you communicate with others in the "re- 
al" world , . . and you live on, though 
your body has died. 

So here you are, a couple of months 
after you've had your operation. 

it's now the Labor Day weekend. 
'r'cu've spent most of the summer "con- 
valescing" — not really convalescing in 
the usual sense, because the operation 
didn't leave you particularly damaged, 
but getting used to this new compan- 
ion in your mind. 
You have to wear this portable com- 

puter all the time, of course. By 20- 
something the thing is made with quan- 
tum-effect devices, a hundredth the 
size of the microchips of the 1990s, so 
it isn't parliculariy iarge or heavy. Stiil, 
it's got to be abie to hold a lot of infor- 
mation in its data fiie, so it's as big as, 
say, a 1990s' iaptop. 

That doesn't mean it has to look iil<e 
a iaplop. The engineers have buiit the 
whole thing into a sort of helmet, which 
covers your entire head. Although your 
children are now in their fifties and six- 
ties, they still remember the old movies 
they saw In their kindergarten days; 
their affectionate name for you is 
"Darth Vader," The helmet dees 
cramp your style a little. You can't 
swim wtiile you're v^feahng the helmet, 
and it's not a good idea to ski or play 
football — but at your age you've pretty 
nearly decided to give up the more vi- 
olent sports anyway. Apart from that, 
ycu can do anything you ever did, 

No, that's not true. Actually you can 
do a great deal more than you ever 
did — with your mind, at least— because 
the companion in the helmet is actual- 
ly helping out your memory. Baseball? 
When you and your great-grand- 
daughter watch the Tokyo Mets playing 
the Vladivostok Dodgers you astonish 
her by remembering the batting aver- 

ages of every Mets catcher since 1 960. 
It's all in the data file. Cooking? if your 
wife thinks of making the chicken-and- 
wine dish you once had in Pans for din- 
ner, she doesn't have to look up the rec- 
ipe. You could recite it for her, if you 
chose — actually, you probably just go 
ahead and make the disb, though eat- 
ing any of it when it's done is a little trick- 
ier. Business? When you go back to 
work, your entire corporate financial dos- 
sier for the last 50 years is right there 
in your memory, and you can tell, off the 
top of your head, which divisions pulled 
their weight and which have generally 
underperformed . . . and even why. 

Remember that, all this time, the com- 
puter that sits on your head isn't only 
teaching you, it's also learning you. It 
learns who your friends are, and what 
experiences you shared together, and 
what they mean to you. it learns what 
music you like to hear, and what sorts 
of books you like to read, and what 
plays and films you enjoy. It learns eve- 
rything you know about your own life, 
from the first three-year-old birthday par- 
ty (when you didn't, after all, get the Su- 
per Nintendo you had your heart set on) 
to the last disagreement you. had with 
your wife . . . and how pleasingly you 
made up aften/vard. It remembers eve- 
rything you remember, likes everything 

you like, worries about everything that 
worries you. . . . 

It ;s you. And when that demon in 
your belly at last makes the body you 
have occupied all these years useless, 
and the couple of pounds of wetware 
in your skull has to die . . , you live on 
in the machine. 

Do you really call that living, you ask? 

Well, what do you call living? Is 
Stephen Hawking alive, for instance? 

Hawking is generally acknowledged 
to be the world's greatest living theo- 
retical physicist, but his body has 
been all but dead for many years. He 
is a victim of the disease called ALS — 
Lou Gehng's disease — and he cannot 
even feed himself; worse, a complica- 
tion a few years ago cost him his 
voice. But that does not keep Hawking 
from being a great scientist and a 
loved human being . It does not prevent 
him from traveling, or even from lectur- 
ing in public, though to be sure he 
must use a speech synthesizer for the 
purpose. Since the synthesizer is Amer- 
ican made and Hawking is very English, 
he apologizes for its American accent — 
but it is stiil Stephen Hawking speak- 
ing. And you, with your advanced hard- 
ware and sophisticated software of the 
next century, can certainly do better 
than that. You will be able to speak in 

your own voice — or to sing— sing as 
well as you ever did, and, if you lil<e, 
much better tiian ever, with the voice 
of any opera star who ever lived. 

But at least Hawking does have a 
body, you argue, altfiough admittedly 
one in bad repair. When he is speal<- 
ing through his voice synthesizer peo- 
ple can see him, anyway. You won't 
have even that much, right? Wrong! The 
mere lack of a body won't l<eep your 
friends from seeing you — just as you 
were, or as much handsomer as you 
wish: (Push bacl< that receding hairline, 
smooth out those wrin[<les — why not?) 
All you need for the purpose is a TV mon- 
itor You can be the one wtio controls 
the image It shows, and that image can 
be you, made up out of the data bits 
your computer mind will generate for 
you, By then, the image will probably 
be in 3-D as well. Possibly it could be 
even physically present as a sort of pup- 
pet operated by your computer mind so 
that it can be touched and embraced, 

Well, that's all well enough for your 
friends, you say but what about your- 
self? Can you feel? you ask. Can you 
hear and see and smell? Can you per- 
ceive heat and cold? Can you feel the 
sensation of pain, or the touch of a lov- 
er's gentle caress? 

Of course you can. It is not your 

brain that feels or sees any of those 
things, you know. Your brain can't. It 
doesn't have the necessary equipment, 
The brain is blind, deaf, and without sen- 
sation. All the brain knows Is what the 
sensory organs of the body tell it, and 
your machine-stored mind can have all 
the sensory organs you like: video 
eyes, microphone ears, transducer sen- 
sory to convey the physical sensation 
of touching. Indeed, that could be only 
ttie beginning for you. The machine 
brain can be equipped with far better 
sensors than the standard accessory 
package that comes with the human 
body, for there are better designs on 
the market. The human eye, for exam- 
ple, cannot see infrared or ultraviolel 
{but video cameras can); the ear [ 
es the bat's shrill squeak and the low- 
frequency sounds of nature (but micro- 
phones do not); there is no human 
sense that can pick up radio waves di- 
rect, but machines do it all the time — 
why not be In yourself your own TV set, 
pocket radio, or even radar? 

it's possible, though, that adding new 
senses might not be a good idea. The 
brain you were born with had to work 
hard in order to learn how to interpret 
all those sensory inputs. There is some 
evidence ttiat, after a certain point, new 
kinds of sensory inputs can be emotion- 

ally damaging. Young people who 
have their sight restored at maturity, af- 
ter having been blind from birth, find the 
experience disorienting; Dr. Jerome 
Lettvin of MIT has found that many 
such people commit suicide. 

Of course, your machine brain isn't 
bound by the same rules as your old 
organic one. Very possibly a few extra 
programs could be written in, or a little 
extra hardware added to your system, 
and you could then easily enough deal 
with senses that would allow you to 
"see" and "feel" anything that any In- 
strument can detect. 

All right, you say at last, but that's 
still not living. What about eating? 
What about the taste of a fine wine? For 
that matter, what about the buzz you 
get from a six-pack? And then you get 
right down to the question that's really 
on your mind: What about sex? 

The answer: Don't worry, No prob- 
lem at all, 

V/ell, no theoretical problem, anyway. 
Remember the main point: Everything 
you experience-Is experienced in the 
brain. It is the brain that interprets all 
those sensory inputs, Including the pleas- 
ures of love-making. Once the eaves- 
dropper in your corpus callosum 
learns how your brain works, it is only 
a step or two to reach the point where 
It can create for you any array of sen- 
sual inputs you like, not just sex. Not 
even just very good sex. Incredible sex, 
without such penalties as AIDS or un- 
wanted pregnancy or even the wrath of 
a jealous lover, since all of it takes 
place in your mind. 

You don't even have to give up your 
present mate, either. The technical prob- 
lems of love-making between some col- 
lection of data bits stored in a Cray- 
100 (or whatever) and your flesh-and- 
blood nearest and dearest are daunt- 
ing, but that's only temporary If you are 
determined to be monogamous you 
can arrange with your nearest and dear- 
est to join you in machine storage 
when the times comes. That may not be 
quick. Your devotion may require a 
good deal of patience . . but then 
you've got all of eternity. 

At least, you have eternity as long as 
you go on paying your utility bills. 

Well, how much "science" is in this 
particular piece of science fiction? 

Quite a lot, actually. That isn't to say 
that this is something you can count on 
by the year 2001 . It may take longer. It 
may take much longer, because some 
pretty daunting technical problems are 
Involved. Brain anatomists will tell you 
that there are important sections of the 
brain — for Instance, the brainstem and 
the cerebellum — not directly reached 
by the corpus callosum; perhaps more 

connections must be made than we 
have outlined. Then there is Ihe tricky 
question of hooking nerves to wires. 
Nerve impuises are at least partly elec- 
trical in nature, but they are also at 
least partly chemical. It isn't just a mat- 
ter of taking a soldering iron to the 
nerve endings in the brain and joining 
them to an equal number of copper 
wires. Some sort of interface will be need- 
ed, and no one can now say what form 
it will have to take. 

So the mind-transplant procedure 
has a long way to go to become a ma- 
ture technology How long, exactly? Per- 
haps about as long, say, as computers 
themselves had to wait in 1945, at the 
time of the huge, clumsy vacuum-tube 
things liKe ENIAC; or as nuclear ener- 
gy had in 1938, when Hahn and Strass- 
mann first split the uranium atom. But 
science goes faster these days — large- 
ly because of the computer itself, 
which makes scientists effectively a 
good deal smarter than their unaided 
native brains would allow. If the mind- 
transplant procedure can be done at 
all, as seems at least theoretically plau- 
sible, it is at least a good gambling bet 
that something like it will be real within 
the next few computer generations. 

By the time you've been back on the 
job for a few years, youVe become ful- 

ly accustomed to your new existence. 

You find It's pretty neat; you even won- 
der why your flesh-and-blood friends 
put off joining you, 

For one thing, you will have a lot 
more spare time than you ever had be- 
fore. Your mental life won't be held to 
the 55-mph speed limit, of an organic 
brain any more. Computer functions go ■ 
far faster than organic synapses; you 
can do in seconds what takes your 
meat friends hours to accomplish. 

Fortunately, you're not alone in ma- 
chine storage. You have machine- 
stored colleagues and friends to talk 
with, and relate to, and do things with; 
they move as fast as you do. and actu- 
ally you find your "living" colleagues 
just a little slow and dull. 

And the things you do with peers are 
really a lot of fun. Travel? Why, you can 
enjoy a simulated Campari on the syn- 
thesized Champs £lysees or experi- 
ence the thrills of skin diving on what 
your senses tell you is the Great Barri- 
er Reef whenever you like. 

You know how this works in advance. 
When you were a child, you remember, 
you saw Hollywood films filled with 
such spectacles as the great space- 
ships of the Empire and the collapse of 
cities in earthquakes and nuclear 
wars. You were aware even then that 


i__^ — 

things had never really happened, but 

were computer-generated images put 
together by special-effects firms like 
George Lucas's Industrial Light & Mag- 
ic. The same techniques, now brought 
to perfection, can provide you with any 
"surround" you like for your adventures, 
as real to you as any weekend on the 
Jersey shore was when you were still 
in your body of flesh, For that matter, 
you're not limited to dull reality. You can 
choose to invent your own fantasy 
world {Barsoom, or Middle Earth, or the 
Arabian Nights', or the Heechee Uni- 
verse), and the computer will build it 
around you, complete with food, drink, 
and companionship. And you have plen- 
ty of time for all this sort of fun. Not on- 
ly do you do things fast, but you never 
have to waste any time in sleep. 

And, of course, you are better at 
your job than even your best ever was — 
better than any flesh-and-blood person 
ever could be, 

For that reason, you're not really sur- 
prised when your CEO calls you in just 
before your one hundredth birthday. 
She tells you that the compulsory retire- 
ment rule has been repealed for ma- 
chine-stored intelligences. 

You knew that was coming. When 
you look at her with your video eyes you 
feel a little compassion. She's definite- 
ly beginning to show her age, and you 
wish you had been able to persuade 
her to lake the next step to join you. 

But, although you like her and sym- 
pathize with her, you turn her down. 

You've had other offers, you explain, 
The most interesting has come from NA^ 
SA. They have a great need for some- 
one like you — several someones like 
you — ^for some of the exerting, new long- 
range space missions they're planning, 

After all, living human beings make 
a lot of trouble for spaceship design- 
ers: Flesh-and-blood people need 
food and air and water; they need to be 
kept warm (but not too hot!) and shield- 
ed from the radiation of solar flares; 
worst of all, they sometimes get sick, 
and it just isn't feasible to include phy^ 
sicians and dentists on a normal 
space mission, On the other hand, it is 
certainly worthwhile to try to have the 
presence of a human being to make the 
on-the-spot decisions, take care of the 
unexpected glitches, interpret what is 
discovered. And in you and your kind 
they have the perfect astronauts. 

So, with regret, you tell your CEO 
that you'll be leaving the company to 
starl training for your new job, which 
will be investigating the frozen surface 
of the planet Pluto. And there you are, 
with a whole new career, and a whole 
new life , , , and you're still a youth hard- 
ly out of your first century! DQ 




Father seemed not to hear. Hitched up his trousers, rattled 
the keys to the pickup as a man does who likes the feel of 
keys, the noisy rattle. "We'll just do it. We'll surprise her. 
Then it will be done." He counted on his fingers, smiling, 
■'Thanksgiving is on Thursday, day after tomorrow. We'll sur- 
prise her so she can get started early," Yet there was a vague- 
ness in his pebble-colored eyes that moved upon me scarce- 
ly seeing me; as if, standing before him, a long-legged skin- 
ny girl all elbows and knees and pimples gritty as sand 
scattered across her forehead, I was no more to him than 
the horizon of scrub pine a short distance away or the weather- 
worn fake-beige-brick asphalt siding on our house. 

Father nodded, grim and pleased. "Yes. She'll see," 

With a sigh he climbed up into the truck on the driver's 
side, and I climbed up into the truck on the passenger's 
side, It was just getting dark when he turned on the ignition. 
You needed to make a quick escape from our place, before 
the dogs rushed out yammering to be taken along— and 
sure enough, hearing us slam the truck doors, there came 
running Foxy, Tiki, Buck, hounds with some terrier blood in 
them, barking and whining after us. Foxy 
was my favorite, the one who loved me 
best, hardly more than a year old but long- 
bodied and showing her ribs, big wet star- 
ing eyes like I'd broken her heart going 
away without her, but what the hell, you 
have to go to school without the damn 
dogs and sometimes to church and sure 
enough you want to go to town without peo- 
ple smiling at you behind your back, figur- 
ing you as a country hick with dogs trail- 
ing after. "Go on back!" I yelled at the 
dogs, but they only yapped and fussed 
louder, running right alongside the pick- 
up as Father took it out the drive tossing 
up gravel in our wake. What a racketl 1 
hoped Mother would not hear, 

I was feeling guilty, seeing Foxy left be- 
hind, so I poked Father, and asked, "Why 
don't we take them along, in the back?" 
and Father said, in a voice like he was talk- 
ing to some fool, "We're going grocery shopping for your 
mother, Where's your sense?" 

Now we were out on the road, and Father had the gas 
pedal pressed down flat. The fenders of the old truck rat- 
tled. That weird high vibration started in the dashboard like 
a cricket none of us could ever find to stop it. 

For the longest time, the dogs ran after us, Buck in the 
lead, and Foxy second. Long ears flailing, tongues out, like 
It was warm weather and not an almost-freezing Movember 
day A strange feeling came over me, hearing the dogs bark- 
ing like that— loud and anxious as they'd bark if they 
thought we were never coming back, Like I wanted to 
laugh, but to cry, too. Like when you're tickled so hard it be- 
gins to hurt and whoever's doing it, tickling you, doesn't 
know the difference. 

Not that 1 was tickled any more, that old. I don't guess I'd 
been tickled in years. 

The dogs fell farther and farther behind, till I couldn't see 
them any more in the rear-view mirror. Their barking faded, 
too. Still, Father was driving hard. The damn road was so 

the longest time, 

the dogs 

ran aftei us, Buck 

in the 

lead, and Foxy 


With long ears 


tongues out like it 

rutted, my teeth rattled in my head. 1 knew better, though, 
than to tell Father to slow down, or even switch on his head- 
lights. (Which he did anyway a few minutes later.) There was 
a mix of smells about him — tobacco and beer and that harsh- 
smelling steel-gray soap he used to get the worst of the 
grease off his hands. And another smell too, I couldn't 

'Father was saying, like I'd been arguing with him, "Your 
mother is a good woman. She'll pull out of this." 

I didn't like that kind of talk. The age 1 was, you don't 
want to hear adults talk about other adults to you. So 1 
made some kind of low, impatient mumble. Not that Father 
heard, anyway — he wasn't listening. 

It was eleven miles to town and once we got on the 
paved highway Father kepi the speedometer needle right 
at sixty miles per hour. Still, it seemed to take us a long 
time. Why would it take such a long time? I'd come out with- 
out my jacket, just weahng jeans and a plaid wool shirt, and 
boots; so I was shivering, Ttie sky was on fire, behind the 
foothills and the mountains in the west. We had to drive over 
the long shaky bridge across the Yewville 
River that used to scare me so when I was 
little; I'd shut my eyes light until we were 
on solid land. Except now I wouldn't let my- 
self shut my eyes, I was too old for such 

I think 1 knew that something was go- 
ing to happen. In town, maybe. Or when 
we returned home. 

Father drove straight down the middle 
of the high wrought-iron vibrating old 
bridge. Lucky no one was coming in the 
left lane. 1 could hear him mumbling to him- 
self, like thinking aloud. " — Coupons? in 
the drawer? Jesus, Forgot to look." 1 
didn't say a word because it made me 
mad, either of them talking to themselves 
in my presence. Like somebody picking 
his nose not seeing you're there, 

(And I knew what Father was talking 
about, too: Mother kept shopping coupons 
in a kitchen drawer; she'd never go lo the A&P without tak- 
ing a batch of them along in her purse. Claimed she'd 
saved hundreds of dollars over the years— I What I'd come 
to think was, grown-up women liked to fuss clipping cou- 
pons out of the newspaper ads or shoving their hands up to 
the elbows in some giant box of detergent or dog chow to 
fish out a coupon worth twelve cents. You figure it, 

For Thanksgiving, though, there'd be a lot of food cou- 
pons, "Big savings" on the turkey, plus all the extras. But 
this year there was nobody in our house to take the time to 
notice them, let alone cut them out of the ads and file them 
away. ] 

Driving to town is driving downhill, mainly. Into the valley 
Out of the foothills where it always seemed colder. On the 
far side of the river Yewville looked squeezed in, steep 
streets dropping down to the river, flat-looking, almost ver- 
tical, at a distance. 1 was starting to get that nervous feeling 
I'd get sometimes when we came to town, and I guessed I 
wasn't dressed right, or didn't look right— my face, my snarly- 
frizzy hair. Father made a wrong turn off the bridge ramp 

before I could stop him so we had lo 
drive through a neighborhood that 
didn't looi< familiar; tall narrow row hous- 
es built to the sidewalk, some of them 
boarded up and empty, and not much 
traffic on the street; here and there, old 
rusted tireless hulks of cars at the 
curbs. There was a thickness to the air 
as of smoke, and a smell of scorch. All 
that remained of the fiery sunset was a 
thin crescent in the west, very far away. 
The night coming on so fast made me 
shiver more. And there was the A&P 
but — what had happened? The smell of 
smoke and scorch was strong here; you 
could see that the front of the store was 
blackened and the plate-glass windows 
that ran the length of It had plywood In- 
serts here and there. The posters ad- 
vertising special bargains bacon banan- 
HOUSE STEAK had begun to peel off the 
glass and the building Itself looked small- 
er, not as high, as if the roof was sink- 
ing In. But there was movement inside. 
Lights were on, flickering and not very 
bright, but they were on, and people 
were inside, shopping. 

Father whistled through his teeth, 
"Well, hell." But pulled into the parking 
lot. "We'll do it, and get It done." There 
were only five or six oars in the lot. 
which looked different from what I re- 
membered—more like raw earth, with 
weeds growing In cracks, tall thistles. 
Beyond the parking lot there wasn't an^^ 
thing familiar, no other buildings, or hous- 
es, just dark, i whispered, "I don't 
want to go In there; I'm afraid," but Fa- 
ther already had his door open, so I 
opened mine, too, and jumped down. 
The smell of smoke and burn was so 
strong here my nostrils pinched and 
tears came Into my eyes. There was an- 
other smell beneath it — wet earth, de- 
composing matter, garbage. 

Grimly^ ghnning, Father said, "We'll 
have Thanksgiving iike always. Nothing 
will cinange that," 

The automatic doors were not operat- 
ing, so we had to open the enter door 
by hand, which took some effort. Inside, 
cold damp air rushed at us — a smell as 
of the inside of a refrigerator that 
hadn't been cleaned in a long time. I 
stifled an impulse to gag. Father 
sniffed cautiously, "Well, helH" he mur- 
mured again, as if it was a joke, The 
rear of the store was darkened but 
there were lighted areas near the front 
where a few shoppers, most of them 
women, were pushing carts. Of the 
eight check-out counters, only two 
were open. The cashiers were women 
who looked familiar but they appeared 
older than I'd remembered, white-lip- 
ped and frowning. 

"Here we gol" Father said with a 
broad forced smile, extricating a cart 
from a snarl of carts. "We'll do this in 
record time." 

One of the cart's wheels stuck every 
few rotations but Father pushed It hard 
and Impatiently in the direction of the 
brightest-lit part of the store, which hap- 
pened to be the fresh produce section, 
where Mother always shopped first.' 
How it was changed, though [ — most of 
the bins and counters were bare, and 
some of them were broken; the aisles 
were partly blocked by mounds of de- 
caying debris and plywood crates. 
There were puddles on the floor. Flies 
buzzed grogglly, A flush-faced man in 
a soiled white uniform, a porkple hat jaun- 
ty on his head declaring, in red letters, 
heads of lettuce out of a crate and dump- 
ing them in a bin so carelessly that 
some of the heads fell onto the filthy 

4A plump- 
faced woman with bright 

orange lipstick 

and trembling hands was 

reaching for 

one of the last good 


but I snatched it away. 9 

floor at his feet. 

Father pushed our cockeyed cart 
over to this man, and asked him what 
the hell had happened here, a fire? — 
but the man just smiled at him without 
looking at him, a quick angry smile, "No 
sirl" he said, shaking his head. "Busi- 
ness as usuall" 

Rebutted, Father pushed the cart on. 
I could see his face reddening. 

Of all things, a man hates to be treat- 
ed rudely by another man in the pres- 
ence of one of his children, 

Father asked me how many people 
Mother would be cooking for on Thanks- 
giving, and between us we tried to 
count. Was it eight? Eleven? Fifteen? 1 
remembered, or thought I remembered, 
that Mother's older sister was coming 
this year with her family (husband, five 
children), but Father said no, they 
were not invited. Father said that Un- 
cle Ryan would be sure to show up, 
like every year, but I told him no, didn't 
he remember, Uncle Ryan was dead. 

Father blinked, and drew his hand 
over his stubbly jaw, and laughed, his 

face reddening still more. "Jesus, I 
guess so." 

So we counted, using all our fingers, 
but couldn't decide. Father said we 
would have to buy food for the largest 
number, then, in case they all showed 
up. Mother would be so uQset if some- 
thing went wrong. 

Mother always shopped with a list 
neatly written in pencil: She'd keep it in 
plain view in her hand, sending me 
around the store getting items, up and 
down the aisles, while she followed 
more slowly behind, getting the rest, ex- 
amining prices, it was important to ex- 
amine prices, she said, because they 
changed from week to week. Some 
items were on special, and marked 
down; others were marked up. But a bar- 
gain was not a bargain If it was spoiled 
or rotten, or just on the brink of being 
so. Suddenly, with no warning, Father 
gripped my arm. "Did you bring the 
list?" he asked. I told him no and he 
pushed at me, as a child might do. 
"Why didn't youl" he said. 

Father's face in the flickering light 
was oily, smudged. As it, despite the 
cold, he was sweating inside his 

"I never saw any list," I said, mean- 
ly. "1 don't know about any damn list," 

We had to get lettuce, though, if Moth- 
er was going to make a green salad. 
We tiad to get potatoes to be mashed, 
and yams to be baked, and cranber- 
ries for the sauce, and a pumpkin for 
pie, and apples for applesauce; we had 
to get carrots, lima beans, cel- 
ery , , , But the best heads of lettuce 
I could find were wilted and brown and 
looked as if insects had been chewing 
tfiem, "Put them in the cart, and let's get 
a move on," Father said, wiping his 
mouth on his sleeve. "I'll tell her it's the 
goddamned best we could do." Then 
he sent me running around, slipping on 
the wet, puddled floor, trying to find a 
dozen decent potatoes In a bin of most- 
ly blackened ones, a pumpkin that 
wasn't soft and beginning to stink, ap- 
ples that weren't wizened and wormy. 

A plump-faced woman with bright or- 
ange lipstick and trembling hands was 
reaching for one of the last good pump- 
kins but I slipped in under her arm and 
snatched it away. Open-mouthed, the 
woman turned to stare at me. Did she 
know me? Did she know Mother? I pre- 
tended not to notice, and hauled the 
pumpkin to our cart. 

The rear of the fresh-produce section 
was blocked off because pari of the 
floor had collapsed, so we had to turn 
around and retrace our route. Father 
cursed the grocery cart, which was stick- 
ing worse. What else did Mother 
need? Vinegar, flour, cooking oil, sug- 

ar, salt? Bread for the turkey stuffing'^ 
I shut my eyes tight trying to envision 
our kitchen, the inside of the refrigera- 
tor that needed cleaning, the cupboard 
shelves wfiere ants scurried in the 
dark. They were empty, weren't they, or 
nearly — it had been many days since 
Mother had shopped last. But the qua- 
vering lights of the A&P were distract- 
ing. A sound of dripping close by And 
Father speaking to me, his voice loud, 
"—This aisle? Anything? We need—" 
His breath was expelled in short steam- 
ing pants. He squinted into the semi- 
dark'ness where the way was partly 
blocked by stacks of cartons spilling 
cans and packages. 

I told Father, "1 don't want to." and 
Father told me, "Mother is counting on 
you, girl," and I heard myself sobbing, 
an angry-ugly sound, "Mother is count- 
ing on you " But he gave me a nudge 
and off I went slip-sliding on the floor 
where water lay in pools two or three 
inches deep. My breath was steaming, 
too. I groped quickly for things on the 
shelves, anyfriing we might need; Moth- 
er would want canned applesauce 
since we wouldn't be bringing her 
fresh apples, yes and maybe creamed 
corn, too, maybe canned spinach? 
Beets? Pineapple? Green beans? And 
there, on a nearly empty shelf, were 
cans of tuna fish, bloated and leaking 
giving off a powerful stink — maybe I 
should take a few of these, too, for 
next week? And a big can of 
Campbell's pork and beans — that Fa- 
tin er loved. 

"Hurry up! What's wrong! We haven't 
got all night." Father was calling at me 
through cupped hands, from the far 
end of the aisle. I gathered up the 
canned goods as best as I could, hug- 
ging them to my chest, but some fell, 
I had to sloop to pick them up out of 
the smelly water. "Goddamn you, girl! 
i said hurry up!" I could hear the fear 
in Father's voice, that I had never 
heard before. 

Shivering, I ran back to Father and 
dropped the cans in the cart, and we 
pushed forward, 

The next aisle was darkened and part- 
ly blocked by loosely strung 
twine . , . there was a gaping hole in 
the floor about the size of a full-grown 
horse. Overhead, partofthe ceiling was 
missing, too: You could look up into the 
interior of the roof, at the exposed gird- 
ers. Rust-colored drops of water fell 
from the girders, heavy as buckshot. 
Here were fairly well-stocked shelves of 
detergent, dish-washing soap, toilet 
cleanser, aerosol insect sprays, ant 
traps. A woman in a green windbreak- 
er was reaching beyond the blocked- 
off area to try to get a box of something. 

84 OMNI 

teetering on the edge of the hole, but 
her reach wasn't long enough, she had 
to give up. I hoped that Father 
wouldn't make me go down that aisle 
but, yes, he was pointing, he was de- 
termined— "She'll want soap I guess, for 
dishes, laundry; go on" — so I knew I 
hadn't any choice, I slid along sideways 
as best I could, around the edge of the 
hole, one foot and then the other, try- 
ing to make myself skinnier than I was, 
not daring to breathe, The rust-colored 
drops fell in my hair, on my face and 
hands. Don't look down. Don't. I 
leaned over as far as I could, stretch- 
ing my arm, my fingers, reaching for a 
box of detergent. There was regular, 
economy, giant, jumbo, jumbo-giant; I 
took the economy because it was clos- 
est at hand, and not too heavy, 
Though it was heavy, 

I managed to get a box of dish-wash- 
ing soap too, and made my way back 


cursed me and slapped 

me again, 

on the mouth this 


I rocked back on my 

and tasted biood.9 

to Father who stood leaning against the 
cart, pressing a hand against his 
chest where he'd opened his jacket. 1 
was clumsy dropping the detergent in- 
to the cart, so it broke, and a fine sil- 
very acid-smelling powder spilled out 
onto the lettuce. Father cursed me and 
cuffed me so hard on the side of the 
head my ear rang and I wondered if my 
eardrum had broken. Tears flooded in- 
to my eyes but I'd be damned if I'd cry 

I wiped my face on my shirt sleeve 
and whispered, "She doesn't want any 
of this shit. You know what she wants." 

Father slapped me again, on the 
mouth this time. "1 rocked back on my 
heels and tasted blood. " You're the lit- 
tle shit," he said, fuhous. 

Father gave the cockeyed cart an an- 
gry push, and it lurched forward on 
three wheels; the fourth wheel was per- 
manently stuck, I wiped my face again 
and followed after, thinking what 
choice did I have; Mother was count- 
ing on me, maybe. If she was counting 
on anyone at all. 

Next was flour, sugar, salt. And 

next, bakery products; where the 
shelves were mainly empty but, on the 
floor, a few loaves of bread were lying, 
soggy from the wet. Father grunted in 
resignation and we picked them up and 
dropped them in the cart. 

Next then was the dalry^products sec- 
tion, where a strong smelfof spoiled 
milk and rancid butter prevailed. Father 
stared at pools of milk underfoot; his 
mouth worked, but he couldn't speak. 
I held my nose and plunged in gather- 
ing up whatever i could find that 
wasn't spoiled, or anyway wasn't 
spoiled too badly Mother would need 
milk, yes and cream, yes and butter, 
and lard. And eggs; We didn't raise 
chickens any longer; a chicken-flu had 
carried them all away the previous win- 
ter, so we needed eggs, yes but 1 
couldn't find a carton of one dozen 
eggs that was whole, I squatted on my 
haunches breathing in little steamy 
spurts examining eggs, taking a good 
egg, or anyway what looked like a 
good egg, from one carton and putting, 
it in another, I wanted at least twelve 
and this took time and Father was stand- 
ing a few yards away so nervous wait- 
ing I could hear him talking to himself 
but not his actual words. I hoped Fa- 
ther was not praying. It would have 
made me disgusted to hear, The age I 
was, you don't want to hear any adult, 
let alone our father, yes and your moth- 
er, maybe most of all your mother, pray- 
ing aloud to God to help them because 
you know, when you hear such a 
prayer, there won't be any help. 

Next to the dairy products was the 
frozen-food section where it looked as 
If some giant had smashed things 
down under his boot. The insides of the 
refrigerating units were exposed and 
twisted and gave off an ammonia-like 
stink, A young mother, fattish, tears on 
her cheeks, three small children in tow, 
was searching through mounds of fro- 
zen-food packages, ice-cream packag- 
es, while the children fretted and 
bawled. The cartons of ice cream 
were mainly melted, flat. The frozen- 
food dinners must have been thawed. 
Yet the young mother was stooped over 
the packages fussing and picking 
among them, sobbing quietly, I won- 
dered should I look, too— we all liked 
ice cream, and the freezer at home was 
empty. The ice-cream cartons lay in 
pools of melted Ice cream amid some- 
thing black that seemed to be quiver- 
ing and seething, like rippling oil. 1 
went to look closer, nudged a quart of 
raspberry ripple ice cream with my 
foot, and saw, underneath, a shiny scut- 
tling of cockroaches. The young moth- 
er, panting, snatched up a carton of 
chocolate-chip ice cream, shaking off 


Canoe makers of the Lummi tribe 
have a ceremony for cutting the tree, 
one for 
moving the 
- log, several for car^-ing it, and another 
, that begins when the war canoe slides 
~^ into the water and doesn't end imtil it 
„ is carried out. A ceremoiiy forces the 
= Lmnmi to consider what they're doing 
1- to the earth, how their actions will 
^ affect the next seven generations. Tl'iey 
^ believe a ceremony is like an umbilical 
cord to Mother Earth, and only a fool- 
ish person would ever cut that cord. 
Please give to the American Indian 
College Fund and help save a culture 
that could save ours. 






le American Indian College Fund, Dcpl. PL 21 West 6Bi 

New York, NY 10023. 1S0a-776-TUND. 
edal thanks are due US West for nil their concent and su 

cockroaches, with a sound of disgust; 
but she put the carton in her shopping 
carl, along with some others. She 
looi^ed at me, and smiled, the kind of 
helpless-angry smile that means. What 
can you do? I grinned bacl^ at her, wip- 
ing my sticky hands on my jeans. But 
I didn't want any of the ice cream, 
thank you. Father hissed impatiently, 
"Come on!" He was shifting his weight 
from one leg to the other, like he had 
to go to the bathroom. 

So I brought the dairy things back, 
best as I could, and put them in our 
cart," which was getting filled at last. 

Next, the meat department. Where 
we had to get our Thanksgiving turkey, 
if we were going to have a real Thanks- 
giving. This section, like the frozen- 
foods section, seemed to have been 
badly damaged, The counters spilled 
out onto the floor in a mess of twisted 
metal, broken glass, and spoiling 
meat — i saw chicken carcasses, coils 
of sausage like snakes, fat-marbled 
steaks oozing blood. Here loo the 
smell was overwhelming. Here too roach- 
es were scuttling about. Yet the butch- 
er in his white uniform stood behind the 
remains of a glass counter, handing 
over a bloody package of meat to a 
woman with carrot-red har and no eye- 
brows, a high school friend of Mother's 
whose name 1 did not know, who 
made a fool of herself, thanking him so 
profusely Father was the next custom- 
er, so he stepped up lo the counter, ask- 
ing in a loud voice where was the tur- 
key, and the butcher smirked at him as 
if he'd asked a fool question, and Fa- 
ther said, louder yet, "Mister, we'd like 
a good-sized bird, twenty pounds at 
least. My wife — " The butcher was the 
store's regular butcher, familiar to me, 
yet changed: a tall, cadaverous man 
with sunken cheeks, part of his jaw miss- 
ing, a single beady eye bright with de- 
rision. His uniform was filthy with blood 
and he too wore a jaunty porkpie hat 
with red letters proclaiming BARGAirj hol- 
iday BUYS! 

"Turkey's all gone," the butcher 
said, meanly, with satisfaction, " — ex- 
cept what's left, back in the freezer." He 
pointed to a wall, beyond a smashed 
meat counter, where there was a gap- 
ing hole; a kind of tunnel. "You want to 
climb in there and get it, mister, you're 
welcome to It," Father stared at the 
hole and worked his mouth but no 
sound came. I crouched, pinching my 
nostrils shut with my fingers, and tried 
to see inside where it was shadowy, 
and dripping, and there were things 
(slabs of meat? carcasses?) lying on a 
glistening floor, and something, or some- 
one, moving. 

Father's face was dead-white and his 

eyes had shrunk in their sockets. He 
didn't speak, and I didn't speak, but we 
both knew he couldn't squeeze 
through a hole thai size, even if he 
tried. Even I would have difficulty. 

So I drew a breath, and 1 said, to Fa- 
ther, "Okay. I'll get the damn old tur- 
key." Screwing up my face like a little 
kid to hide how frightened I was, so he 
needn't know, 

I stepped over some debris and bro- 
ken glass, got down on my hands and 
knees— ughl in that smelly messl— 
and poked my head inside the open- 
ing. My heart was beating so hard I 
couldn't get my breath and it scared me 
to think that I might faint, like Mother. 
But at the same time I knew I wasn't the 
kind of girl to faint; I'm strong. 

The opening was like a tunnel into a 
cave; how large the cave was you 
couldn't see because the edges dis- 
solved out into darkness. The ceiling 


were puddles of bloody 


animal heads, skins, 


startlingly white bone — 

I thought 

that I would vomit.? 

was low, though, only a few inches 
above my head. Underfoot were pud- 
dles of bloody waste, animal heads, 
skins, intestines, but also whole sides 
of beef, parts of a butchered pig, 
slabs of bacon, blood-stippled turkey 
carcasses, heads off, necks showing 
gristle and startlingly white raw bone. 1 
thought that I would vomit, but I man- 
aged to control myself. There was one 
other shopper in here, a woman Moth- 
er's age with steely gray hair in a bun, 
a good cloth coat with a fur collar and 
the coat's hem was trailing in the mess 
but the woman didn't seem to notice. 
She examined one turkey, rejected it 
and examined another, rejected that 
and examined another, finally settling 
upon a hefty bird which, with a look of 
grim triumph, she dragged back 
through the hole. Which left me alone 
in the cave, shaky, slckish, but excited. 
I could make out only three or four tur- 
key carcasses remaining. I tried to 
sniff them wondering were they begin- 
ning to go bad'' Was one of them still 
fresh enough to be eaten? — squatting 

in bloody waste to my ankles. All my 
life that I could remember up to then, 
helping Mother in the kitchen, I'd been 
repulsed by the sight of turkey or chick- 
en carcasses in the sink: the scrawny 
headless necks, the loose-seeming 
pale-pimpled skin, the scaly clawy 
feet. And the smell of them, the unmis- 
takable smell. 

Spooning stuffing rich with spices in- 
to the bird's scooped-out body, sewing 
the hole shut, basting with melted fat, 
roasting. As dead-clammy meat turns 
to edible meat. As revulsion turns to ap- 

How is it possible you ask, the an- 
swer is it (s possible. 

The answer Is it is. 

The smells in the cave were so 
strong, I couldn't really judge which tur- 
key was fresher than the others so I 
chose the biggest bird remaining, a 
twenty-pound bird at least, panting 
now, half-sobbing with effort I dragged 
it to the opening, shoved it through, and 
crawled after it myself. The lights in the 
store that had seemed dim before 
seemed now bright, and there was Fa- 
ther standing close by hunched over 
the grocery cart waiting for me, his 
mouth agape, a twitchy smile at the cor- 
ners of his lips. He was so surprised at 
something, the size of the turkey may- 
be, orjustthefact of it, thefactthat I'd 
done what I'd done, blinking up grin- 
ning at him, wiping my filthy hands on 
my jeans as 1 stood to my full height, 
he couldn't even speak at first, and was 
slow to help me lift the turkey into the 

Then, weakly, he said, "Well, hell." 

The store was darkening, only one cash- 
ier remained to ring up our purchases. 
Outside, it was very dark; no moon, and 
a light snow falling, the first snowfall of 
the year. Father carried the heavier gro- 
cery bags, I carried the lighter, to the 
truck, where we placed them in the 
rear, and dragged a tarpaulin over 
them. Father was breathing harshly, his 
face still unnaturally white, so I wasn't 
surprised when he told me he wasn't feel- 
ing all that good and maybe shouldn't 
drive home. This was the first time ever 
I'd been a wimess to any adult saying 
any such thing but somehow 1 wasn't 
surprised and when Father gave me the 
key to the ignition I liked the feel of it In 
my hand. We climbed up into the 
truck. Father in the passenger's seat 
pressing his fist against his chest; me 
in the driver's seat, behind the high 
wheel. I was only just tall enough to see 
over the wheel and the hood, I'd never 
driven any vehicle before but I'd 
watched them, him and her, over the 
years. So I knew how. DO 

Sex in the cinema sells, but sev- 
en of len all-time box-office 
champs are films chockablock- 
buster with special effects (FX). And the 
mother of all FX shops is Industrial Light 
& Magic (ILM), the people who brought 
you the Star Wars trilogy, the watery pseu- 
dopod of The Abyss, the melting, morf- 
ing T-1000 of Terminator 2, and the pre- 
historic stars of Jurassic Parl<. 

ILM is the crown jewel of LucasArts Dig- 
ital Services, namesake of George 
Lucas, the 50-something movie magnate 
of San Rafael, California. And if George 
is King Arthur, then his Merlin is Dennis 
Muren, 46, senior visual-effects super- 
visor of ILM, Soft-spoken, lanky, and loy- 













al, Muren has kept ILM on the cutting 
edge of FX technology since 1978. His 
current mission is to bring his talented 
work force up to speed on the new tools 
of the trade, Macintosh computers and 
Silicon Graphics workstations. 

Born and raised in suburban Los An- 
geles, Muren has been making movies 
since he was 6. Armed with a progres- 
sion of cameras, he and his boyhood 
friends, including Oscar-winning make- 
up artist Rick Baker, devised and shot 
homespun effects involving spaceships 
and dinosaurs. Muren never thought his 
passion wage-worthy, and to this day, de- 
spite seven Oscars for best visual effects, 
still fears having to get a real job! 

After majoring in business at Pasa- 
dena City College and California 
State University, Muren freelanced as 
a camera operator and effects super- 
visor from 1969 to 1975. He lieiped 
produce several educational fiims 
and lioned his si^ills in stop-motion 
photograpiiy on Piilsbury Doughboy 
commercials, in 1975, Muren joined 
up with Lucas, who was contempial- 
ing a iittie space film caiied Star 
Wars. Muren, tired of iife outside the 
studio system, wanted in. 

Worl^ing with effects legends 
John Dykstraand Richard Ediund, he 
learned motion-control photography, 
whereby the motion of cameras and 
models (spaceships, asteroids, and 
so on) can be precisely duplicated by 
computer-controlled servomotors. 
This enables filmmakers to shoot 
pass after pass of the same action, 
each pass containing a different im- 
age or element. Later, the layers of 
film are composited in an optical print- 
er, and voila! — the Millennium Falcon 
slashes into a dog fight with the bat- 
wing fliers of the Death Star. 

While' Star Wars' effects were 
groundbreaking in 1976, Muren and 
company didn't feel they'd mastered 
motion-control technology until 1978. 
Then they were off and running, push- 
ing the FX envelope with The Empire 
Strikes Back. E. I, Return of the ■ 
Jedi. Indiana Jones and the Temple 
of Doom, and some Disneyland attrac- 
tions. Young Sherlock Holmes in 1985 
marked ILM's computer graphics 
{CG) debut: a humble yet significant 
part of the movie's special effects. 
Three years later, the FX highlight of 
Willow was the computer-generated 
shape-changing or "morfing" effect. 
By 1989's Gtioslbusters II and The 
Abyss, fvluren knew that computer 
graphics were the FX wave of the fu- 
ture — and he needed to learn how to 
surf. He took a year off from ILM to 
teach himself the gospel according to 
Macintosh. "After I'd figured out Pho- 
toshop at home [CG software written 
by ILM's John Knoll], I felt it was 
worth either doing it or shufting up 
about it. Terminator 2," he recalls, 
"was the time to try it." 

72 trumpeted the arrival of the digi- 
tal revolution in the FX business, win- 
ning Muren his seventh Oscar, but 
more important, restoring his passion 
for special effects. Having taken tradi- 
tional effects technology as far as it 
could go, he needed the challenge 
of the new. With the record-breaking 
success of Jurassic Park, not only is 
the challenge met, the audience is 
screaming for more. 

Like most effects shops I've visit- 
ed, ILM is housed in nondescript build- 
ings in an industrial park, in part, I'm 
sure, for economic and security rea- 
sons. But perhaps, too, to give the 
imagineers a blue-collar sense of 
their daily toil ("Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to 
Jurassic Fferfewe go"). While Muren 
was busy making a business pitch, 
publicist Miles Perkins showed me 
around the warren of shops and of- 
fices. I was astounded by the sheer 
number ot "the Greatest Movie Icons 
of the Past 20 Years" casually strewn 
about waiting rooms and model 
shops, draped from rafters, livening 
up the cafeteria— E.I, Darth Vader, 

COMPOSITE: A shot produced 
by two or more separately 
filmed elements that have been 
optically combined. 


which all the film elements are 
composited into a single image. 

MATTE: A painted background 
composited and filmed 
with characters and action. 


method for creating the illusion 
that an object can move of 
its own accord. This is achieved 
by focusing the camera on 
the object, exposing one frame, 
moving the object a short 
distance, exposing another 
frame, and so on, 

GO-MOTION: A refinement of 
stop-motion in which animated 
miniatures are subjected to 
electronic control that permits 
them to be in motion while the 
camera shutter is open, thus 
creating a natural blur of motion. 



master of stop-motion, in movies 
such as The 7th Voyage of 
Sinbad, Jason and the 
Argonauts, and It Came From 
Beneath the Sea. 

that permits the camera to be 
programmed to repeat elaborate 
moves with great precision. 

INPUT SCANNER: A device for 

digitizing photographs; 
specifically, one for creating 
digital images, pictures 
represented numerically to allow 
processing by computer. 

for digitizing objects or persons 
topographically to create accu- 
rate three-dimensional models 
tn digital space. 

ROTOSCOPE: A technique in 
which individual frames, charac- 
ters or elements of a movie 
are blown up and traced one at 

a time onto animation eels. 



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C-3P0, the "Rocketeer" zeppelin, 

Hook's hook, even the mechanical 
head of Howard the Duck! 

— Bill Moseley 
Editor's note: No stranger to filmland, 
interviewer Moseley can be seen in 
such classics as Chain Saw Massacre 
II, Crash and Burn, and White Fang and 
is embarking on a rock-'n'-rol! career as 
"Onions ttie Scarecrow" in Buck- 
ethead's debut LP. 

Omni: Most film work is in Los Angeles, 
Does being up here in San Rafael limit 
your business? 

Muren: For a lot of our work, people 
don't need to come up here. Setting up 
a direct fiber-optic link, I can show Ste- 
ven Spielberg in L.A. our dailies on vid- 
eo by shuttling the tape of our shot 
back and forth with a pointer at the 
screen, talking to him live. Ninety-five 
percent of his comments to us are 
from watching video. In five years, 
when everyone gets linked, there may 
not be any point in someone going 
from Burbank into Hollywood, let alone 
San Rafael, With teleconferencing, you 
can bring people together who are 
8,000 miles apart or on different floors 
of the same building. 

Being in a visual medium, we can do 
much of that work over fiber-optic 
lines. When Steven was in Poland do- 
ing Schindler's List, we bounced sig- 
nals off a few satellites because we 
needed a quick response from him on 
our work for Jurassic Park He sees it 
with a half-second delay— we're using 
the same technology as CNN. In this 
business, when you're describing Im- 
ages, characters, and emotions, 
words fail. It's best to start with an im- 
age we_c^i both see simultaneously, 
if Steven says this part doesn't work, we 
can isolate that half second. If he says 
something in one frame doesn't work, 
we can go in there with the pointer and 
see what he's talking about. 

There are TV monitors at each end 
of the fiber-optic line, plus I've got a 
tape deck with a little mouse attached, 
the cursor on the screen. Steven's 
there, we're here, and there's a tiny pic- 
ture of us in the bottom of the frame. 
Steven sees our faces below the image. 
That makes for more of a relationship 
between us. It's not just a voice and a 
video being shuttled back and forth. 
Now Steven wants a camera on him so 
we can see his expression when he 
sees our stuff. 

Omni: Was it harder creating dinosaurs 
for Jurassic Parft than the liquid metal 
T-1000 robots In Terminator 27 
Muren: When we started Jurassic, I 
looked at other companies' CG work 
and nothing came even close to what 

we needed. I didn't know if we could 
do it. Early on, Steven planned to do 
many of the effects with' (he full-sized 
mechanical dinosaurs Stan Winston 
made. But there are limitations to the 
amount of motion you can get with big 
machines. If they did move like real di- 
nosaurs, you'd see them all over the 
place: They'd be used to walk overfree- 
ways and pick up crippled cars. Those 
machines haven't been built because, 
being so heavy, they'd tear themselves 
apart. They're dangerous, 

Steven wanted traditional effects for 
the shots that were Impossible with full- 
sized dinosaurs. For shots of running an- 
imals, shots where you see the whole 
animal, shots where the animal's per- 
formance is too much for ten puppet- 
eers to act in sync, he expected to use 
stop-motion [actually go-motion] with rub- 
ber animals. Such shots are very hard 
with robotic characters, but you can do 

ilf big machines 

moved like real dinosaurs, 

they'd walk 
over freeways and rescue 

. crippled cars. 
They'd be so heavy, they'd 

tear themselves 
apart. They're dangerous. 9 

them with one stop-motion animafor 
working on each shot for a day. Part of 
the brilliance of Ray Harryhausen's 
work — which is my inspiration — is for all 
the staccato movement of his stop- 
motion effects; his creatures all have a 
sense of being. The performance, the 
pantomime, is what grabbed me more 
than the technical polish. Without that 
performance, it's just moving figures 
you don't care about. 

Steven wanted stampede or herd 
scenes but didn't know how to make 
them look any better than the old Lost 
World. Well, one thing our computers 
can do well is replicate Images, In one 
test, we made a skeleton of a gal- 
limimus dinosaur, then eight copies; 
then we shrunk the skeleton down and 
made babies. Altogether we had 11; 
eight adults, three babies. We took a 
photograph from a book, digitized it, 
and used it for background. In an ani- 
mation — run — cycle, we put in one ani- 
mal; it was just a skeleton at this point, 
not even a skinned animal. We replicat- 
■ ed the animal for each cycle, then stag- 

gered the cycles. We rendered the an- 
imation from the perspective of the pic- 
ture in the book: a view looking down 
on a valley, A second picture from an- 
other book looked out over a prairie sim- 
ilar to the area in the first picture. So we 
rendered the same action? this one bit 
of animation, replicated it over all 
these cycles, viewed it two different 
times from two different places, and com- 
bined it with the backgrounds on vide- 
otape It looked great; the motions 
were fluid. And Steven went nuts over 
our demonstrations, 

We wanted to know if we could do 
something with the Tyrannasaurus. We 
did a little test with it and this time go- 
ing from videotape up to film. All this 
time I'm wondering, where's the wall in 
this technology? The wall has got to be 
here somewhere, 1 hadn't found it yet. 
But I'd never seen this stuff on screen. 
No one had ever done this before, I was 
very cautious about claiming success. 
We shot an "empty plate" on Lucas Val- 
ley Road with a Nikon still camera and 
then computerized this background 
and added a computer-generated 7- 
rex walking down the road. It looked 
great and everybody went nuts. Amblln 
[Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg's 
production company] gave us some 
money to finish the T-rex and make it 
look real. The show jumped from stop- 
and go-motion to computer graphics 
plus the full-sized dinosaur models. The 
older technology went out; the new 
technology came in, 
Omni: Are the full-sized dinosaurs the 
reality that sells the computer graphics? 
Muren: Yes, Some model makers think 
that they're going to be out of business 
soon thanks to computer graphics. 
That's crazy. It's still 70 percent mod- 
els, 30 percent CG, The advantage of 
a full-sized head over a computer-gen- 
erated one is that It gives you eight dif- 
ferent camera angles, eight shots in one 
day. You also want full-sized props for 
actors to Interact with. 

What does infringe on model makers' 
territory is performance. You can do a 
better performance with CG, where one 
person defines what the performance 
is. He doesn't have to do it in realtime 
or on a set with a director and crew of 
150 people waiting for him. It all 
comes down to performance, Without 
performance, the focus of the animal 
can't look real. It shouldn't look like it's 
an accident, like the head was sheet- 
ed, like you put these little pieces to- 
gether. Then you may have a story, but 
not a performance. The relationship be- 
tween model makers and CG people is 
a partnership. What was so exciting on 
JP was how well we managed to get a 
performance out of a computer, which 

hasn't the slightest idea how to perform. 
People were doing it. 

Everyone in the film business Js cur- 
rently going nuts over computers. 
What distinguishes tlie good from the 
great computer-graphics people 
might be in the code of the software 
they write, the skill of the guy moving 
his mouse, what menus to bring up, 
how to use this incredibly complicat- 
ed software/hardware combination. 
There's a new breed of artist now. 
They've had a few years to learn the 
tools of the trade, and that skill shows 
up on Jurassic Park. 
Omni: When you recruit, do you look for 
computer jocks with an artistic bent or 
artists who use computers? 
Muren: Both, We've gotten most of our 
hotshot programmers and technical di- 
rectors from Siggraph, the computer- 
graphics conference held every year. 
Animators are a different story. You can 
find people who call themselves anima- 
tors, but they're really only accustomed 
to moving logos around, products 
around table tops, Don't get me 
wrong; that's an important form of ani- 
mation. You can use it for flying space- 
ships around, but it wasn't the charac- 
ter animation we needed for Jurassic. 
We were trying to create life, with all its 
complexity and subtlety of motion — 68 
body parts moving In synchrony. 

We recruited a really good cartoon 
animator who'd worked on the Ducl< 
Ta/esTV series. He had a background 
in computers and was a stop-motion an- 
imator, We look for the intent, A person 
already comes with the intent and 
needs to learn the tool. The other 
group are guys who know the tool but 
have to learn how the animal should 
move. It's difficult for the noncomputer 
people to figure out the software; it'll get 
easier over time. Right now, there's 
such a growth In the perceived need for 
these people that many companies are 
opening up, A lot of raiding's going on, 
yet I'm not so sure this market is as big 
as people think — certainly not in films. 
There Is some new business at theme 
parks, but everybody's thinking multime- 
dia's going to explode. 
Omr)i: What is this "wall" you men- 
tioned anticipating in JPand T2? 
Ivluren: It hasn't happened. Going into 
JP, we didn't know if we could move the 
skin over the dinosaurs' bones without 
tearing it apart when they moved, like 
computer skin has in the past. Remem- 
ber, you're dealing with geometry that 
can't quite figure out where it's sup- 
posed to be, so you get errors like 
fears. It's not magic, where one thing 
works for every shot; it's on a shot-by- 
shot basis. A human being is deciding 
how that dinosaur should move. We 

don't have It automated, because then 
we'd have to create the intelligence to 
figure out what body parts should 
slide where. We didn't have the horse- 
power or start-up time to get into mov- 
ing animals and skin, the "smart mod- 
el" approach. My background is in 
filmmaking; I'm used to going frame-by- 
frame and fixing things, faking my way ■ 
through the shot if I have to. We deal 
with little pieces of time. Getting 
through our three-and-a-half seconds, 
that's all that matters; one shot. 
Omni: The shots are so brief because 
you want to stay ahead of the audience, 
wow 'em before they can figure it out? 
Ivluren: Sure, it's a cumulative whole. 
You recall a sequence from a movie as 
being one shot when it wasn't, It was 
made up of a lot of little pieces. I re- 
member the opening of Bonnie and 
Ciyde as one long, continuous shot 
when Bonnie comes down a series of 

4As a kid, Ray 
Harryhausen's work thrilled 

me, because for 

all the staccato movement of 

his stop-motion 

effects, his creatures all 

have performance, 
have a sense of being.? 

stairs and first sees Clyde. When I sayi* 
it again, I realized that it was 23 cuts! 
It was way overcut because they were 
trying for style. It's amazing what your 
mind can do to fill in that stuff. 

So many effects sequences are 
made that way because ttnere's no oth- 
er way. Now, when you do the T-1000 
going through the [prison] bars with no 
cuts, everybody gasps. No one has ev- 
er seen anything like it before. The open- 
ing shot of the spaceship going over in 
Star Wars is a minute and a half. JP has 
shots of people walking up to a giant 
dinosaur in broad daylight that run over 
20 seconds. No cuts, And the camera 
is dollying along, too, Every so-called 
"rule of effects" is out the window. 1 
like to push things. 

Omni: How did you get started In the 
effects business? 

I^uren: I saw Ray Harryhausen movies 
and King Kong, every release of Amer- 
ican International Pictures in the Fifties. 
When I was 6, 1 got a still camera and 
began shooting dinosaurs and space- 
ships. At 10, I used a little Keystone 

eight-millimeter camera to shoot mov- 
ies, moving things through the frame in 
stop-motion, I had to push it to stop eve- 
ry three frames. The film would come 
out all jerky, but it was still exciting. 
Next I moved up to an eight-millimeter 
that you could view through the lens; no 
more parallax problems. It actually 
shot one frame of film at a time, abreak- 
through. And it couid rewindl 

When I was 14, my parents bought 
me a 16-millimeter Bolex for S600. 
Their encouragement was very import- 
ant in helping me get where I am today. 
My parents didn't know what I was do- 
ing; I didn't know what I was doing. 
This was in Los Angeles, There was no 
community, just three or four kids go- 
ing to each other's houses and shoot- 
ing film— not trying to tell a story or any- 
thing, just these screwy effects. I 
didn't think It would amount to anything. 

In the Fifties, all the major studios ex- 
cept for Fox and Disney closed their ef- 
fects departments. And Fox and Disney 
had strict rules about what you could 
and couldn't do-. I did it all, so I never 
thought they would be places I'd work. 
I didn't think of effects as a career. I 
still don't; it's more like a hobby. 
Omni: How do you classify yourself? 
Muren; Others see me as a visionary 
I don't. 1 see myself as a worker. I 
push the technology, but I also push 
the vision within ,the context of the di- 
rector's vision. I don't feel the need to 
own 100 percent of the concept. If I did, 
then I'd need to hire someone to do 
what I do, and I want to do that, 
Omni: How did you hook up with 
George Lucas? 

Muren: I saw his documentary, Tiie 
Rain Peopie, years ago at the Acade- 
my In L,A, where Francis Coppola 
talked a little about George, I'd seen 
American Graffiti and THX-n38. 
which I thought was a great film. I'd 
done a couple of space films in 16 mil- 
limeter and some commercials. I didn't 
want to join up with the union, but all 
the big shows were union shows. I 
heard that George was going to pro- 
duce this space film [Star Wars]. At 
that time, three effects films had come 
out; Island at tlie Top of tiie World. Eartli- 
quake, and Towering Inferno. I really 
wanted to be on the Inside, to see 
what these big Hollywood shows were 
like. If I didn't like it, I'd get out, 

John Dykstra was doing the effects 
on Star Wars. Either he or Doug Trum- 
bull came up with the idea of the motion- 
control system, to vary the speed on all 
cameras with stepper motors. The step- 
per motor Is a machine tool that moves 
mils [1/1000th inch]. In movies, you can 
use it to move cameras. The motor has 
a shaft that moves an exact amount by 


UFO refuseniks: Alien abductees 
back — and winning 

middle of tr 
I vague feeling 
hat something is wrong. 

of your bed. UFO re 

is in progress 

could you — r ^.. 

ing to some students of ab- 

Ann Druffel. a Califorr 

'ujunga Canyon Contacts, 


^ I 

faith." One woman, for exam- 
ple, appealed lo the arch- 
angel Michael and fended 

^^^^^^^»*-v«^^^^^^^ °"^'"" 

.-3 ^^^^^^^^^E::^!J^^E^^^^^^^H 

resisted and now has nine abdu 

techniques for those who, when faced with alien per- is a dream. David Jacobs, proft _ 
11, want to fight back. -SomG bedroom abductions be- pie University and author of Si 
gin with a high-pitched sound signaling the abductors' the abduction phenomenon, sa^^ ., 
approach, followed by bodily paralysis." Druffel ex- duction completely is impossible." In 
"'"■ns. "Once you recognize the signs, you might found after working intensively wim ; 
_ r yourself up forthwarting alien attack." ductees, "the best anyone could do 

Thefirsttechnique, mental struggle, seems decep- things a little. Some people struggled, others 

■ 'ely obvious, notes Druffel. but for those without a walked more slowly or fell to the floor and had to be 

■nse of inner strength, it may fail. The prospective carried. I have one woman who spit in the aliens 

"abductee" can figuratively -put his or her foot face. Still," adds Jacobs. "I encourage abductees to 

-'"■vn" and mentally "just say no." As the abductee try resistance because it Drovid ' ' 

ally I 

: person will be able 
cnrriinn to Druffel. 

lens off is Budd 
Hopkins won't say 
fact, encourages 

juntered too many 
isciously thought they had 

lis, it turned out that they had not." 
;,, Muvvc/cr, finds that residual psychological 
s often displayed by people reporting an ab- 

while in Vietnam. It gave him a heighte 


' notion of a 12-step 
..jovery program for 
artists addji 

Yet some people a 
so compulsive abo 

Enter a bold r 
' -ailed Artists Recovi 
hrougli ttie Twelve 
orA.R.TS., Ai 
mous. Adapted from 
Alcofiolics Anonymo 
specifically for ar 
types, from painte 
singers to writf 
organization sIq, .o 

meeting with the classic 
12-step line, "Hi, my 
name is John (or Jane, or 
Jo) and t'm an artist." 

According to member 
PamT, some artists 
attending the meetings 


muse that "they cannot 
■Qcus on their nine-to-five 
Ob, pay their bills, or 
nteract with other peo- 
ple." Instead, she says, 
the muse has turned into 
a consuming, destructive 
monkey on the back that 
sends the artist into a 
headlong, downward tail- 


a group f^^K/SMK^^^^^K^^^BK^^^Ki 
peers," she says. 

The support of the Before joining the pro- To reach A.R.TS. 
group notes one partici- gram, he states, "1 didn't Anonymous, just call its 
pant, has helped him feel safe drawing a woddwide hotline num- 
become a creative, re- building. Now I've complet- ber: {21 2) 969-01 44. 
sponsible professional. ed a mystery novel." —Joseph Baneth Allen 


Most people come in 
contact with the world of 
UFOIogy only through 
books and magazines. But 
recently, some of the 
field's most impressive 
artifpnK have been put 


-crash of 1947, 
complete with an eight-foot- 
long UFO and soft, 
sculptured aliens. The 

major UFO 

decade since the 1940s, 

For the shopper, there are 
UFO books, T-shirts, --" 
bumper stickers. :" 
sion is a buck. 

Also in Roswell, the 
■ 1 UFO Ml 

um and Research Center 
has the backing of the ci 
council itself. According 1„ 
Walter Haut, president, 

m is centered 

D-foot, ten- 
I pane! Plexiglas display of 
tena and 

J features a 

UFO library, an auditori- 
um, and a gift shop. 

Finally, another UFO 
museum has set up shop 
in Odando, Florida, the 
exhibition capital of the 

ift shop along with 

„ „. ^ photo anddocu- ^ ^ ^ „ 

ment display. past? One perspective 

Business at all three comes from neuropsychol- 

museums has been brisk, ogisl Norman Don 

Price, of the Outa Limits of the School of Public 

in Roswell. for instance, Health at the University of 

■' n400 Illinois 

ith- Greenen filmed Rios in 

600 to 700 a month. Haut. o 
of Roswell's Research 

Center, reports more thai . i saya. i Hcisunany 
1 5,000 tourists a month, watched him perform and 
■ teotaped a iarge vahety 



surgery. Rios used a 

I who believe in the woodworking drili with a 

i "It's not nice to fool four-inch- 

with Mother Nature" may ed blade, as weli as other 

cite a recent example surgical ■ - ■ 

to bolster their position; goa[lo\_, ...„, .._ 

the laws of biology real hun**' ' " 

from his base in Palmelo, Dc^ 

Brazil, was stung to death surgery performed by Rio 

by a swarm of African killer led to paranormal results 

surgical procedures with- 

ruments like 
the circular saw. 

Did Rios perform real 

brought some tumors ths 

working through him," Don 

Ihm A"!?tet; 

How did yoi/ 

such "^^ 

a depression ? 



Mind a 
Suggestion "f 



It's an.ocCL/pationaJ hazzard . 
I'm a dean 
of ps/chology 

I'P /ou are <zver 
in ■beachinq - 

Give me 
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I PRIOR TO '5/""' 

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to improvisation, 

One of the really fruitful ways to 
bring the two cultures together is to see 
what kind of purchase the literary view 
of language can have in understanding 
the constitutive role that discourse 
, plays in scientific theories, heuristics, 
and experiments. Metaphors, for exam- 
ple, guide thought as well as express 
it, [aying down a (largely unconscious) 
linkage of associations that determines 
how the cable car of cognition will 
move. (This metaphor, for example, 
clunks along and makes me want to 
jump off it as soon as possible.) Rhe- 
torical protocols are more than just proto- 
cols— ihey are formulations that deter- 
mine what can be said as well as how 
it can be said. 

When I read in a scientific journal the 
phrase, "It was determined that . . . ," 
the person who did the determining 
fades into nonexistence, and I am left 
with the claim presented as if it were a 
fact of nature. By contrast, I still remem- 
ber the first time I read the phrase in a 
scholarly article, "I want to show 
that . . . ." it sent a shiver down my 
spine. Wants to?l! The expression not 

only constitutes a person, but a person 
with desire, whose particular cultural 
and psychological formation materially 
affects what she wants to say. 

Literature's role in culture? I don't 
think I can improve on Sir Philip Sid- 
ney — to give pleasure and to instruct. 
To give pleasure in all kinds of ways, 
as varied as the human imagination can 
make it, To instruct the culture in 
where it has been, where it is now, 
where it is going, other places it might 
visit or envision or bring Into being. The 
two functions are of course not mutual- 
ly exclusive, since instruction always 
takes better when it's fun. 

17 NOV 

From: IN%"@iris.uncg.edu" [OMNI] 
How have scientific theories — the Mew- 
tonian-clock, the Uieory of relativity, quan- 
tum mechanics, noniinearity (chaos), mo- 
lecular biology — Influenced literature? 

17 NOV 

edu" [Powers] 

I had such a good time reading and 
thinking about both Jay's and Kate's re- 
sponses that I would like to move that 
we kick around these ideas, getting 
back to the next round of questions if 
and when they seem appropriate. In 

short, a revolt of the interviewees. 
What does everyone think about letting 
this be a little more free form [truer to 
the E-mail medium) and leaving it to the 
editor to pick up the pieces? 

17 NOV 

From: IN%"@XHMEIA.Caltech.Edu" 


I'm certainly In favor of free form. I've 

written something on the Newtonian 

question and will be happy to dlstnb- 

ute it now, save it for later, or throw it in 

the electronic wastebasket — whatever 

everyone prefers. 

Response to Kate's first E-mail: The 
point about language as a possible di- 
viding line between two cultures is well 
taken, Scientists — those who do it rath- 
er than think about it— tend to believe 
that the matters they deal with are ba- 
sically "true" in some manner that tran- 
scends how they are spoken about. 
Such a viewpoint would seem to imply 
that scientific truths are somehow "priv- 
ileged" (to use a word I seem to keep 
seeing in this field) over all others and 
that there should be some ideal lan- 
guage that would express these truths 
precisely which all actual language can 
only hope to approximate. [Vluch of 
what I have read of recent philosophy 
of science and literature/science looks 

upon this position as quite wronghead- 
ed and argues that scientific "under- 
standing" is in fact intimately bound up 
with ianguage, conventions, assump- 
tions — even though its practitioners can 
remain blissfuliy oblivious to such issues 
and still function. This would seem to 
constitute a case for differentiating be- 
tween the two cuitures operationally, 
but perhaps not fundamentally 

My gut feeling is that the language 
barrier is important, but not as import- 
ant as the similarities that both Rick and 
I spoke for in the first go-round. On the 
other hand, that feeling may be just an- 
other consequence of my scientific up- 
bringing. If I'm conditioned to think 
that the way 1 describe an idea is 
much less important than the idea itself, 
then 1 suppose 1 would naturally and 
subconsciously tend to downgrade the 
significance of the fact that someone 
else may think the description is equal- 
ly important (or, perhaps more accurate- 
ly, is the idea). 1 seem to be trapped in 
cultural quicksand here. Anybody got 
a rope? 

1 B NOV 

From; IN%"@um3XC, weeg.uiowa.edu" 


The quicksand you have discovered. 1 
would like to suggest, is not really quick- 
sand but an empowering reflexivity. It's 
empowering because it is about posi- 
tionaliiy. Somehow the idea got started, 
sometime in the seventeenth century, 
that we know the world because we are 
separated from it. Objectivism led to 
some scientific advances but also to a 
profound alienation about which many 
writers and philosophers have meditat- 
ed. What if we started from the oppo- 
site premise that we know the world be- 
cause we are connected to it? Then to 
discover that one's views have been 
shaped in conscious and unconscious 
ways by one's experiences, culture, his- 
tory and traditions (including discipli- 
nary traditions) is to discover that one 
has a position from which to interact 
with the world. 

The more we can learn about the po- 
sitions we occupy, the more we learn 
about why our interactions with the 
world have the charactehstic shape and 
flavor they do. Quantum mechanics 
showed this in one way by indicating 
that how an experiment was set up 
would affect whether subatomic phenom- 
ena manifested themselves as waves or 
particles. Chaos theory showed it in an- 
other way by emphasizing the importance 
of scale. Benjamin Whorf showed posi- 
tionality in yet another sense, by relat- 
ing the structures of languages to the 
kinds of thoughts that can be articulat- 
ed within them. And postmodern theo- 


rists like Donna Haraway {Primate Vi- 
sions) ani^ Steven Shapin and Simon 
Schaffer {Leviathan and the Air Pump) 
have demonstrated that gender, class, 
and race affect what kinds of questions 
are asked as well as what evidence is 
considered persuasive in answering 
them. Knowledge, like power, does not 
exist in a vacuum, it always comes into 
being through a community of knowers 
who determine what counts as knowl- 
edge at a given time and place. 

I don't mean to suggest that all knowl- 
edge is relative; I am, in fact, among 
those diehard realists among the hu- 
manities who think that there is an ex- 
ternal reality. But maybe external reali- 
ty is not the right phrase, since that im- 
plies a world already constructed as a 
reality. More accurate, to my mind, is 
"unmedlated flux." Surely our picture of 
reality is affected at all levels, even be- 
fore conscious perception begins, by 

Q have 
never met a scientist wlio 

did not 
respond in some degree 

to irony, 

lyricism, metaphor — the 


arsenal of literary devices. 9 

the species-specific sensory apparatus 
and perceptual processing that we 
bring to it. The world comes into exist- 
ence for us as human beings; there's 
no other way we could possibly know 
it. Other species — my dog, for exam- 
ple — bring the unmedlated flux into exist- 
ence for themselves in very different 
ways. So my position includes not only 
my culture, language, history, but also 
my species, This does not necessarily 
imply relativism, however, for the unme- 
dlated flux impinges on me, smd I proc- 
ess it in ways that are meaningful for 
me. What results is an interaction be- 
tween my position and the flux. To ex- 
perience this interaction is what I call 
"riding the cusp"; it's from riding the 
cusp. I think, that all our knowledge of 
the world comes. Thaf s what I mean by 
saying that we know the world because 
we are connected to it. The result is a 
much less alienated vision of the 
world, and also a truer vision of the 
world, since it acknowledges that posi- 
tionality is always already affecting the 
picture we see. it surely affects funda- 

mental questions about the nature of 
the scientific enterprise as "objective" 
and the literary enterprise as "subjec- 
tive," providing a very powerful com- 
mon ground from which to think litera- 
ture and science together. So much for 
the soapbox; 1 tend to get -passionate 
about these questions. I would love to 
hear what you think about these ideas. 

13 NOV 

From: lN%"@XHMEIA,Caltech.Edu" 

I need to start with a disclaimer: I'm pret- 
ty much a neophyte in this field, 1 par- 
ticularly dontfeei equipped to discuss 
in any detail the history of influence of 
specific scientific themes on literature. 

First, I'd like to look at the list of the- 
ories. The Newtonian universe is the on- 
ly one that dates back significantly be- 
fore the beginning of this century. 1 
think that a couple of theories/concepts 
from the nineteenth century— entropy 
and evolution — should be added: 
They seem to me to have been at least 
as important in their influence on litera- 
ture as the Newtonian clock or the the- 
ory of relativity. 

Another concept, really more math- 
ematical/philosophical than scientific, is 
self-reference. This is not a new con- 
cept (in literature or elsewhere), but it 
takes on vastly increased importance in 
this century, stemming perhaps mainly 
from its crucial role in Gbdel's incom- 
pleteness theorem, and this appears to 
be true of its role in contemporary liter- 
ature as well. 

I think we need to distinguish be- 
tween different modes or levels of influ- 
ence. The most superficial is what 1 
called in my first response "name drop- 
ping," often just for the author to let 
us know how up-to-date he or she is. 
Next, perhaps, is the use of scientific 
metaphors, where a scientific concept 
may be called upon to help explain hu- 
man behavior, Finally, the scientific 
concept may appear to be intimately 
woven into the basic fabric of the liter- 
ary work. 

While these seem to represent a hi- 
erarchy of increasing direct influence 
{and, one might go on to infer, increas- 
ingly sophisticated understanding of sci- 
ence by the literary author), that need 
not be true: The appearance of scien- 
tific themes or concepts in literature 
may not be the results of any direct in- 
fluence or conscious intent at all. This 
point is made very clearly by Kate in the 
preface and first chapter of her book 
Chaos Bound, with a number of exam- 
ples showing how themes of chaos the- 
ory appear in literature contemporane- 
ously with, or even preceding, their wide- 
spread dissemination in scientific, and 

popularized scientific, writing, pretty 
mucli ruling out the possibility that di- 
rect influence is involved. 

One could say the same about the 
first few decades of this century. The 
developments of relativity and quantum 
mechanics overthrew Newtonian me- 
chanics, completely changing the con- 
ceptions of causality and fixed refer- 
ence points in the clockwork universe. 
At the same time, trends in literaiure 
and the arts (surrealism, abstraction, ato- 
nality) seem to be progressing along par- 
allel lines. Again, little if any of this can 
be attributed to influence {in either di- 
rection); both instead must be represen- 
tations of the Zeitgeist. 

13 NOV 

From: IN%"@umaxc.weeg.uiowa. 
edu" [Hayles] 

I'm glad Jay brought up the question 
of influence. I think a much more pow- 
erful concept than influencs is the idea 
of positionality that we were discussing 
earlier. The trouble with influence is 
that it is usually constructed as a one- 
way street (Einstein influences James 
Joyce; science influences literature) 
and a flat street at that, without much 
or any sense of the multiple dimensions 
that positionality entails. When we are 
ready to give up the illusion that we can 
achieve a "God's-eye view" of the uni- 
verse, then we are led to wonder how 
our position not just affects (a wimpy 
word if I ever saw one) but actively con- 
structs what we see. Only part of my po- 
sition, for example, is constituted by the 
fact that I started life as a chemist and 
then switched to the literary camp. Prob- 
ably a larger part of it derives from my 
position as a woman in male-dominat- 
ed institutions, and a larger part still 
from being a human being in the late- 
twentielh-century technoculture we 
call America. Depending on what iai^ 
ers or aspects of this position I want to 
address, I could be seen as having 
more in common with scientific folk 
than literati (if we are talking about the 
Second Law of Thermodynamics), fe- 
male undergraduates than male full pro- 
fessors (if we are talking about the amaz- 
ing longevity of sexist practices), or re- 
ality hackers than Shakespeare schol- 
ars (if we are talking about electronic 
bulletin boards rather then the Globe 
Theater), All of us are fragmented com- 
posite beings with complex fractal 
boundaries between the various strata 
which are, moreover, not at all separat- 
ed into watertight compartments. Our 
parts leak, they flow, they become tur- 
bulent or congeal, and all of these high- 
ly nonlinear interactions, taken as 
wholes that are constantly changing 
and rearranging themselves, comprise 


our positions at any given moment. 

19 NOV 

edu" (Powers) 

"To say something in other words is to 
say something different." Even to 
quote Kate is already io give her a 
kind of Heraclitean twist. The same, on- ' 
ly different: That's the oxymoron at the 
heart of Gold Bug. There, as here, I see 
the two/five-billion cultures debate as a 
variant on the astonishing oxymoron of 
variation, The genetic code may be uni- 
versal across life, but each time you 
whte it into a new genome, the whole 
postulate changes. 

Does putting an "empirical" observa- 
tion into other words change the nature 
or the observation? Perhaps it does not 
change that part of the component 
tied to the "unmedjated flux." But it 
must certainly change the valence of 


no two verbal formulations 

can ever 

be identical, to say something 

in other 

words is to say something 


language does count, 9 

the observation as it makes its way in 
the marketplace of human exchange. 

I couldn't agree more that Snow's 
terms bias the discussion and that it's 
very useful to look at the issue in terms 
of the production and generation of ide- 
as. To "see what kind of purchase the 
literary view of language can have in un- 
derstanding the constitutive role that dis- 
course plays in scientific theories, heuris- 
tics, and experiments," as Kate says 
(and as 1 now say differently, if ver- 
batim). We are in search of that com- 
mon term at the varying heart of theory 
making about the world and our posit- 
ion in it (which may come to the same 
thing, in different terms), 

The common denominator between 
disciplines should be awe at our ability 
to say anything at all about where we 
find ourselves. Scientific and humanist 
wonder also share a common basis in 
symbolic manipulation. Whether meas- 
uring or interpreting, we use one level 
of the polysemous symboi-parfait to 
cast light on another. Now it may well 
be that one "culture" sees the inescap- 

able symbolic go-between as a wall 
while the other sees it as a bridge. One 
may find metaphor a minor handicap 
while the other may consider it not only 
the means of but the subject under eter- 
nal investigation. Either way^, framing a 
proposition and testing it are never sep- 
arate acts, 

What makes things interesting is 
that, when we do science, the meta- 
phors that we employ in empirical ex- 
amination produce and consolidate oth- 
er metaphors. The stuff of the observa- 
tion itself becomes the metaphorical 
scaffold with which we organize and po- 
sition ourselves for the next observation. 
(There is, as Kate/Whitehead points out, 
truly no independent mode of exist- 
ence.) This interplay of theory and ob- 
servation feeds back and forth across 
the two-culture divide as well. That's 
why so many eighteenth- and nine- 
teenth-century novels can be seen (but 
only in retrospect) as colored by New- 
tonian clockwork while so many con- 
temporary novels are preoccupied 
with recursion and complexity. 

"Give me a lever long enough and a 
place to stand and I can move the 
world, . . ," I always thought the planet- 
long lever was the easy part. It's that 
request for a place away from this 
place that gets tricky, It gets infinitely 
harder to know a thing when knowing 
and stating (de facto acts of separation) 
already alter the thing. Even a height- 
ened knowledge of how our positionality 
impinges upon "knowing" is philosophi- 
cally problematic (a deep recursion lurk- 
ing in that process). Perhaps the knot 
is at least side-steppable if we admit lit- 
erature as a form of knowledge? Fiction 
may, in any case, be one of the only 
ways into a knowledge of positionality, 
as it is condemned to partake of the 
metaphorical process it inevitably de- 
scribes, The novel is one of those 
things that must be what it purports to 
be about. It rides the cusp by building 
it, re-creating it in both emblem and es- 
sence, And as such, it is definitely one 
resonant metaphor tor the whole meta- 
phorical process at stake here. 

Yes, 1 believe in something "unme- 
diated" out there as well, but 1 am con- 
demned to mediated means of manip- 
ulating or understanding it. The map 
may not be the place, but we have on- 
ly the map with which to move about in 
the place. Maps, rather, constantly 
changing, or perhaps I need to say vary- 
ing. Both sides of the two-culture split 
may right now be coming to richer ap- 
preciations of how navigation and car- 
tography are inseparable parts of the 
same journey Symbolic understanding 
is both active and responsive, both em- 
pirical and imagined. 

One of the rondo refrains of Gold 

Bug, repeated throughout the book 
scores of times, each time the same, on- 
ly different, is the Mechanicals' ques- 
tion from Midsummer Night's Dream: 
"How do you get moonlight into a cham- 
ber?" The answer is: You dress some- 
one up as the moon. 

24 NOV 

From: IN%"@XHMEiA.Caltech,Edu" 


I want to asl< Rick for a bit of clarifica- 
tion. .i'm not sure I fuily grasp the sig- 
nificance of your "mooniight into a cham- 
ber" paragraph in the context of what 
immediaieiy precedes it. "Dressing 
someone up as the moon" seems to im- 
ply a ievei of artifice or manipulation 
that goes well beyond the role of met- 
aphor as both you and Kate have dis- 
cussed it. Kate's picture of metaphors 
"laying down a (largely unconscious) link- 
age of associations" seems quite differ- 
ent from disguising something as what 
it is obviously not, which might easily 
not lead to the desired effect 

I'm going to try to sum up what I 
think I've heard so far. We have all 
suggested that the two cultures are fun- 
damentally the same and that they are 
fundamentally different. The obvious 
and probably stupid question is, are the 
similarities or the differences more 

The latest mailings seem to me to con- 
tain the same message — what Kate 
calls "riding the cusp" and what Rick 
talks about in terms of "recursion." Re- 
cursion is inherently discomforting, go- 
ing all the way back to basic paradoxes 
("This sentence is false"). We are 
faced with dilemmas that we know will 
not be resolvable^at least in the 
sense of what we have been brought 
up to consider resolution — and yet may 
not feel comfortable disregarding. How 
do we deal with this situation? 

One way is to accept it— or rather to 
welcome it. Another way is to "place it 
in brackets" — not to deny its existence, 
or even its importance, but merely to 
set it aside while we get on with the 
business at hand. We can go back and 
think about it when our real job permits 
us some leisure time. For most scien- 
tists, questions about how we gain our 
knowledge of the world, how intimately 
It's bound up with language— they're 
interesting, and important, but they're 
for the weekends, after the science is 
done. For humanists, such questions 
are the job, and the tension between op- 
posing views must be at the center of 
their lives. 

If we argue that scientific knowledge 
is inescapably positional, then some sci- 
entists must be at least somewhat self- 

delusional in that they are leaving out 
huge chunks of the world while going 
about their business. However, that's a 
mode with which scientists are con- 
sciously comfortable. Every scientific dis- 
cipline involves simplification, approxi- 
mation, neglect of minor perturbations. 
Factors that we "know" will have Insig- 
nificant effects upon the results are ne- , 
glected, even though we are fully aware 
that they are real and can become all 
important in other contexts, 

24 NOV 

From: IN%'@assistant.bBckman.uiuc. 
edu' [Powers) 

Jay, you want clarification of my meta- 
phor for the metaphoric process? Get- 
ting recursive ... I use the figure in a 
slightly different way in Gold Bug (and 
Shakespeare uses it in a slightly differ- 
ent way in Midsummer Night's 
Dream), but in the context of this 


role in culture? To give 


and to instruct the 


in wlrere it has been, 

where it 

Is now, where it is going. ^ 

E-mail discussion, the point was that 
when you can't have the thing in itself, 
you make do with a constructed sym- 
bol for the thing. "Dress up" not in the 
sense of disguise or intent- to mislead, 
but in the sense of approximate rep- 
resentation. And yes, I agree with Kate 
Ihal the effect of such created symbols, 
once laid down, is far-ranging and of- 
ten unconscious. 

If it is indeed true that all our knowl- 
edge of the world must derive from sym- 
bolic manipulation, then we are all mon- 
ocultural at base. We may become bicul- 
tural when certain investigators decide 
to concern themselves with the thing be- 
ing represented and others decide to 
work with the ways of representation or 
the act of representation itself. Both pre- 
occupations are to some extent 
problematic because of the interdepend- 
ence of the elements of representation 
and knowledge. So we are, in fact, al- 
ways left with hybrid activity, riding one 
cusp or the other, both depicting and 
being depicted — various cross-ruffing 
activities such as literary examinations 

of science or critical examinations of 
such literature. 

I am not troubled by the reductionist 
assumptions behind the pure, empiri- 
cal project any more than 1 am troubled 
by the nonverif lability of a good novel. 
But a full picture of where we have 
been set down will always require a par- 
allax of both kinds of projects, and 
then some, 

4 DEC 

From; IN%"@XHMEIA.CaltBch.Edu" 


Regarding chaos and reduclionism: I 
think there is major confusion over just 
what reductionism means, much of it 
rather politically inspired. 

The basic distinction I think we 
need to make is between reductionism 
as a philosophy and as a research strat- 
egy Take biology Philosophically a re- 
ductionist would say that answers to 
"high-level" questions, such as function 
of an organism, may in principle be 
built up from the most fundamental lev- 
el, namely the constituent atoms and 
the "rules" of quantum mechanics that 
tell us how atoms interact to form mol- 
ecules, how molecules interact with 
each other to produce "supramolecu- 
lar" structures as well as to give chem- 
ical reactions. The ultimate implication, 
I suppose, would be that conceptually 
one could start from the complete DNA 
sequence of an organism, and a big 
enough computer, and calculate just 
what the organism would look like, how 
it would develop, how it would function. 

Opponents of reductionism in biolo- 
gy point out, completely correctly of 
course, that we don't have the slight- 
est idea how to perform the vast ma- 
jority of the steps in that conceptual in- 
tegration. However, it is not clear that 
that is a valid objection to reductionism 
as a philosophy A much more difficult 
argument is generated by focusing fur- 
ther along the chain of integration. 

What we have thus is new, higher- 
level concepts "emerging" as we pro- 
ceed along the integration, What cha- 
os has done, 1 think, is to make some 
of the unbridged gaps along this chain 
look even wider than they did before. 
And yet, it is still not clear that this is a 
fatal blow to philosophical reductionism, 
which would only require that these high- 
er-level concepts be (in principle) de- 
rivable from the fundamental quantum 
mechanical laws. I'm sure few scientists 
would expect to find that the high-level 
concepts contradict the fundamentals — 
vitalism pretty much vanished from sci- 
ence long ago. 

So the question, I guess, is whetner 
there is an inherently unbridgeable gap 
in the progression to higher-levei con- 

cepts, and more specifically from our 
point of view, whether chaos creates (or 
reveals, more accurately) such gaps. I 
certainly can't answer that question. 
One possible argument for such a gap 
might come from fractal geometry: The 
Mandelbrot set has the property of "self- 
similarity" in that the same structural fea- 
tures appear at any scale of observa- 
tion. Since this self-similarity extends to 
infinity In both directions, larger and 
smaller, it would appear that there 
could be no reduction to "the most ba- 
sic" structural elements. 

However, unless everything we be- 
lieve about atomic structure is wrong, 
self-similarity does not extend indefinite- 
ly in the direction of shrinking scale. The 
properties of an artificial construct 
such as the Mandelbrot set may remain 
self-similar to infinity, but in a "real" struc- 
ture, when we approach the scale of 
molecular sizes, self-similarity will 
break down. 

So for philosophical reductionism, 
there is no obvious impact of chaos, As 
a research strategy, it should be clear 
from purely practical considerations 
that it would be stupid to practice re- 
ductionism to the exclusion of all else. 
Even if we grant the philosophical re- 
ductionist argument, it will be a very 
long time before integrating up from mol- 
ecules could tell us even the minutest' 
fraction about, say, liver function that 
the same amount of macroscopic study 
would provide. On the other hand, 
again I don't think anybody denies that 
study on the molecular level is still wcrtfi- 
while. Does nonlinear dynamics (cha- 
os) then shift the prionties, place the 
sought-for integration so much farther 
off that we should refocus most of our 
efforts on higher-level concepts? 

I guess the bottom line, if there is 
one, is that chaos doesn't seem to me 
■ to have a major impact on reduction- 
ism, at least if one is careful about 
what one means by the term. It's prob- 
ably clear from what I've said that I 
don't view chaos so much as a revolu- 
tion in science, but rather as a shift in 
emphasis and, above all, a recognition 
of some thematic relationships between 
areas that previously appeared quite di- 
verse. I think the same would apply to 
the two-culture question: It's not revo- 
lutionary in the sense that It allows for 
a dialogue to begin, but rather a refine- 
ment of modes of thinking and talking 
that perhaps will lead to better percep- 
tion of connections. 

14 DEC 

From: IN%"' 

edu" (Hayles) 

I find it almost impossible to write 

concisely about how chaos has influ- 

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enced literature, because every one of 
the substantive words in that preposi- 
tional plirase are probiematic for me— 
ctiaos, influence, literature. Cl^aos the- 
ory is stiil new enough so tliat there 
have been reiatively few texts that 
have explicitly referred to it in a signifi- 
cant way; Bruce Sterling's Schismalrix 
is one, Michael Crichton's Jurassic 
Park another, and of course Gold Bug 
Variations. Yet the ideas of chaos have 
had an important impact on how one 
reads literature, not only contemporary 
texts, but earlier works as well. Features 
important in nonlinear dynamics such 
as scaling, recursive symmetry and sen- 
sitive dependence on initial conditions 
have played important roles in literary 
texts for a long time, and the science 
of chaos has given us new ways to un- 
derstand and talk about how these fea- 
tures can be important in literary texts. 
Writers whose works have been reinter- 
preted in these terms include William 
Blal<e (who when Newton was all the 
rage wrote furious epic poems insisting 
that nonlinearities were so important 
that they could not be ignored); John 
Ruskin, a Victorian who sought to lib- 
erate the complexities of nonlinear 
flows; Emerson, Thoreau, and Haw- 
thorne, among others. Understanding 
more about chaos has given literary crit- 
ics new and more sophisticated ways 
to tall< about texts like Thomas Pyn- 
chon's Gravity's Rainbow and Stanislaw 
Lem's His Master's Voice, both texts 
that defeat linear modes of reading and 

Another area in which chaos has 
changed how literature is read is dissi- 
pative structures — entropy-producing 
systems that create greater order inter- 
nally by producing greater disorder in 
their environments. A famous crux in lit- 
erary criticism has been the question of 
where meaning resides — in the text it- 
self, in the reader, in the relation be- 
tween text and reader, or somewhere 
else?— for example in the culture that 
in a sense writes both reader and text. 
Schools of criticism can be charac- 
terized according to the ways in which 
they answer this question. The idea of 
dissipative structures has proved to be 
very fertile in understanding how the re- 
lation between text and reader works. 
Arguments have been made that 
some texts are representations of dis- 
sipative systems, crafted precisely so 
as to foreground and .engage the dis- 
sipative activities of the human con- 
sciousness that reads and understands 
them. These texts produce noise in the 
sense that they present the reader 
with messages that seem to mean some- 
thing, but that also distort or otherwise 
complicate the processes of significa- 

112 OMNI 

tion. Struggling to understand the text, 
the reader is forced to reorganize his 
thought processes at a higher level of 
complexity. Thus the text acts like a dis- 
sipative system that achieves internal co- 
herence by producing greater disorder 
in the reader, but then the reader re- 
sponds by reorganizing his understand- 
ing at the expense of still greater dis-_ 
order in his environment, which is also 
subject to reorganization. How literally 
one can or should take this model of 
reading is still very much up for grabs; 
some critics want to apply it in a quite 
literal sense, while others see it as a met- 
aphor for understanding "noisy" texts 
that is most fruitful if it is not constrained 
by the kind of energy balance sheets 
that a thermodynamic accounting 
would make. Whatever position one 
lakes on the question, it is clear that cha- 
os has stimulated new ways of thinking 
and writing about literature. 

most scientists, questions 


how knowledge is bound 

up with 

language are for the 


after the science is done,? 

About reductionism; One kind of ques- 
tion to ask is how reality actually is. 'Is 
it susceptible to foundational analysis 
and description that would let macro 
behavior be analyzed in quantum me- 
chanical terms? That was mostly the 
question that Jay concentrated on in his 
analysis. Another kind of perspective 
emerges when one assumes that "re- 
ality" is constituted through acts of de- 
scription and analysis. One kind of re- 
ality comes into existence through foun- 
dational description; another kind 
comes into existence through what I 
might call "emergent description." The 
mode of description, in this view, can- 
not be separated from the kind of re- 
ality that Is constituted through descrip- 
tion. This position assumes thai any "re- 
ality" available to human beings can 
never be unmediated by language and 
signification. To talk about reality is al- 
ways already to constitute it in ways spe- 
cific to the discourse system in which 
it is described. So the choice of dis- 
course system is enormously important, 
because it will have everything to do 

with how the reality is constituted. 

One choice is foundational analysis. 
Such a choice implies that a certain set 
of metaphors will operate— metaphors 
such as building blocks, parts that go 
together to make wholes, subdivision of 
parts until one arrives at quantities so 
fundamental that they can't be divided 
further. Obviously these metaphors are 
not merely ornaments of speech. They 
implicitly point toward certain kinds of 
research strategies — for example, a re- 
search strategy that keeps trying to sub- 
divide parts into finer and finer compo- 
nents in a search for the foundational 
part that is the "essential building 
block of nature," The foreseeable result 
is something like the proposal for the 
superconducting supercollider 

Another choice is emergent descrip- 
tion. Here a different set of metaphors 
is engaged — metaphors such as 
wholes that are more than the sum of 
their parts, qualities or properties 
which come Into existence through in- 
teractions and thus do not inhere in any 
of the parts, the unpredictability of 
such properties from extrapolation of 
the parts, the thresholds that, when 
passed, mark the transition from parts 
to an emerging whole. These meta- 
phors point to different research strat- 
egies than foundational analyses; spe- 
cifically, they point away from the 
search tor fundamental particles toward 
synthetic perspectives that would inte- 
grate parts into emergent phenomena— 
for example, symmetry considerations. 
Both perspectives can yield valuable 
insights; I'm not sure it is possible to an- 
swer in any transcendent way which per- 
spective is better. Surely it would de- 
pend, among other factors, on the 
scale of the phenomena one wanted to 
understand and the previous contexts 
of understanding. In fact, a transcen- 
dent set of criteria is ruled out by the 
basic assumption I've been making, for 
such criteria would themselves also be 
inextricably bound up with the language 
used to constitute them. Ail this implies 
that the choice of perspective must 
necessarily be strategic and political, in 
the broad sense of the word. What 
work can it do in the relevant contexts 
and how important is that work given all 
the complexities of those contexts? 
There are some who imply that an emer- 
gent perspective has, in the present cli- 
mate, more important work to do than 
a reductionist perspective. Seems to 
me that that proposition would take a 
lot of unpacking — just what is that 
work, and why is it important? Severa) 
of my colleagues are engaged in mak- 
ing this kind of argument right now. so 
the difficulty of the enterprise is evident 
ly not discouraging people from lawJei- 

taking it. It would be worthwhile to put 
these foiks in conversation witii scier;- 
tists lil<e Jay, because their arguments 
are often driven by a sense of what is 
importanl for the culture in general rath- 
er than the scientific field in particular. 
Both contexts need to be consid- 
ered, in my view; this is perhaps the 
contemporary version of the two-cul- 
tures divide. Is it symptomatic that in try- 
ing to come to a conclusion. I seem to 
have succeeded only in opening up 
huge new areas for discussion? 


edu" [Powers] 

I am really sitting on my hands at the 
moment, trying to refrain from jumping 
into all the new nooks and crannies 
that you two have opened up in your 
latest round of responses. These last 
notes on your parts strike me as hav- 
ing something fractal about them: rich, 
complex, infinitely textured at every 
magnification, and tightly tuned to the 
point of self-resemblance. No matter 
what fate awaits this discussion in 
print, I just want to say that I have ben- 
efited enormously by your ruminations, 
which I count as among the most lucid 
I have seen on the subjects, anywhere, 
I will constrain myself to my assign- 
ment this lime^the far less interesting' 
question of the influence of "chaos the- 
ory" on my fiction. To some extent, all 
of my books have been nagged at by 
nonlinear dynamics, i first became con- 
scious of the issues after reading that 
Times piece on Mitchell Feigenbaum, 
which must have appeared around mid 
1 984. The idea of sensitivity on initial con- 
ditions was one of the most invaluable 
metaphors for me during the creation 
of Three Farmers On Their Way to a 
Dance (3F), which was all about the 
discontinuity in gauges between the 
frames of local and global history. {A cen- 
tral image in 3Fis the story of how Hen- 
ry Ford tried to end the First World VVar 
single-handedly,) I use for this book's 
epigraph the bit from Proust about how 
"we guess as we read, we create; eve- 
rything starts from an initial mistake." 
Lingering in this first line is the covert 
image of cigarette smoke, or the turbu- 
lence of a waterfall, or better, an 
avalanche that begins with three farm- 
ers on a muddy road and ends with the 
twentieth century But throughout the 
book, the idea of "chaos" stays relative- 
ly hidden and defers instead to a 
much more "modernist" (archaic) idea 
that a system depends on the totality 
of object, observer, and receiver of ob- 
servation (sitter, photographer, and au- 
dience in my metaphor). 
The trope becomes more overt m H'is- 

oner's Dilemma (PD). The theme here 
picks up where the first book left off. 
What does little have to do with big? 
How much difference can one vote 
make? Here, the epigraph is from T E. 
Lawrence; "I am still puzzled as to how 
far the individual counts." The Butterfly 
Effect is rrientioned by name as are 
emergence and threshold-phenomena 
PD's structure is also vaguely fiactal 
with nested narratives each recapitulat- 
ing and extending one another at riif 
ferent magnifications, an attempt to mir 
ror the kind of discrete yet continuous 
hierarchy that Jay talks about. 

In Gold Bug Variations, the metaphor 
of nonlinear dynamics becones the sub- 
ject, and In a certain sense, the vehi- 
cle, I was struck, when reading Kate's 
formulation of the two-stroke cycle of 
reductionist versus synthetic work, by 
the sense of how the character Jan 
O'Delgh's autodidact dive into molec- 
ular genetics starts with the one motion 
{understanding complex systems in 
terms of their constituent parts) and 
ends in the other (an appreciation for 
how the ciphertext depends on the full 
complexity of the world, both for its "writ- 
ing" as well as for Its reading); "Eco- 
logy's every part— regardless of the mag- 
nification, however large the assembled 
spin-off or small the enzymatic trigger — 
carries in it some terraced, infinitely 
dense ecosystem, an inherited hint of 
the whole." 

A little like the two of you, I felt I al- 
most had a generic, layman's handle on 
the notion of "chaos" at one time. The 
ideas have gotten too complex for me 
now, however, even as they have sim- 
plified into general curre/icy. (I do still 
find [Vlax Planck's comment, which I use 
for a chapter heading in 3F, invaluable: 
"The world Image contains no observ- 
able magnitudes at all: all that it con- 
tains is symbols.") 

I agree that the rejection of the Lap- 
lacian dream may still harbor a closet 
reductionist program, and hiding in the 
"new" formulations may be the hope 
that disorder is simpler than we 
thought. ("What could be simpler?" as 
the first line of Gold Bug Variations 
puts the question.) It may well be that 
chaos theory's lasting contribution to lit- 
erature will be the creation of a place 
where one might once again believe in 
the efficacy of fiction's project — a 
place where "no war is inevitable until 
it breaks out," where the individual 
counts "a lot, I fancy, if he pushes the 
right way," where we might play the 
whole hypothetical piece "once more 
with feeling," For it seems to me that 
many novels get written on the na'i've be- 
lief that a small seed of words can still 
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increments. It might take 200 incre- 
ments to rotate one complete turn. A 
computer can tell the motor to rotate, 
say, 284 turns, then go back to the 
start and rotate another 284 turns. Be- 
cause the stepper motor repeats itself 
exactly, you can duplicate things over 
and over, and this allows you to shoot 
motions of models at very low camera 
speeds. You can both program and con- 
trol the movement. There are no acci- 
dents, no gravity to deal with, As 
skilled as one is at visualizing what the 
final motion should be, here's a tool 
that guarantees its accuracy. 

On Star Wars, the equipment was 
cumbersome and difficult to use be- 
cause we never quite figured out mo- 
tion control. But then when we did the 
TV series, BaWestar. Galaclica. it was 
like a light bulb turning on. What a tool 
to be able to move three-dimensional 
models any way you want! On Empire, 
we went crazy with the asteroid se- 
quence, the walker sequence, all the 
stuff where we now understood how to 
represent three-dimensional space, 
Omni: The walkers [enemy battle ma- 
chines with four legs] in Empire remind- 
ed me of Harryhausen's stop-motion 
magic. Did you create the walkers in 
homage to him? 

Muren; No, we had a deadline and stop- 
motion's how we did it. Doing the walk- 
ers with motion control or building a 
robotic thing would have cost a fortune. 
The fact that the walkers are machines, 
the stop-motion effect added to their re- 
ality. We talked to Harryhausen. In 
fact, George even asked him if he'd 
like to work on the film. Ray said no. It 
would have been great to have had Ray 
come do it, But I don't remember do- 
ing anything as an homage. People 
read that into my work. 

Because it was a technology I really 
understood, I knew the stop-motion an- 
imators who could do the walkers. I 
knew we could build big sets with paint- 
ed backgrounds, scrims, baking soda 
for snow, and trapdoors like they had 
in the stop-motion film Hansel and Gre- 
tel. You could set up something and get 
your shots without it being too screwy 
and complicated. 

Omni: Industrial Light & Magic has 
long been the Industry leader In spe- 
cial effects. Might the dissemination of 
people and technology to other shops 
erode your market share? 
Muren; That happened right after Star 
Wars, but in three years, most of those 
companies were gone. There's a feel- 
ing that the tools do the job, so after 

114 OMNI 

Star Wars, everyone was setting up mo- 
tion-control equipment, optical printers, 
and so on, But their shots didn't look 
the same or they didn't deliver — and 
that's real sehous stuff to Hollywood. 
When the guy with the effects compa- 
ny tells the producer, "We're not going 
to be able to deliver in time because 
we're having some problems; you un-- 
derstand problems don't you?" The pro- 
ducer says, "No, I don't. You've been 
paid to deliver the job. The movie's got 
to be in the theaters on this date." 
That's what separated us from a lot of 
smaller companies. Also, we may be 
the only effects company with an art de- 
partment. Because the design of effects 
is so important, we have about eight art- 
ists doing concepts, storyboards, and 
ideas full-time. Companies that think the 
design comes from the studio are miss- 
ing an essential element. Now we've en- 
tered the digital age; ILM may tempo- 
rarily lose business to new shops that 
buy the software, bring in managers. I 
say look back in three years and see 
who survives, Maybe if multimedia 
does catch on, everybody will work be- 
cause there'll be more money. 
Omni: How soon before today's state-of- 
the-art digital equipment is obsolete? 
Muren: Two to three years. Filmmaking 
special effects is just not a business you 
get into to make money. The margins 
are too low. You've got to pay the tal- 
ent, And equipment is becoming obso- 
lete faster. We've saved a great deal of 
money by using the ohglnal camera we 
made for Star Wars as our main cam- 
era until the digital stuff started. We 
still have the original optical printer 
used for The Ten Commandments. _ 
Omni: Do you get much commercial 
work following a hit effects film? 
Muren; it happened with 72. We did the 
first morf shots in Willow in 1989, but it 
wasn't until the ifiree such shots in T2 
that everybody picked up on the term 
as shape changing. That was followed 
by a deluge of commercials: shape- 
changing characters morfing all over 
the place, Michael Jackson's video was 
all based on morfing. The marketplace 
got saturated, 

Omni: How do you composite and ma- 
nipulate computer-generated images? 
Muren: We have a lot of stand-alone ma- 
chines, about 130 processors we can 
grab onto anytime, and four or five re- 
ally high-powered machines that any ma- 
chine can grab onto. We might run 12 
shots a night for Jurassic. Some of 
these shots would run on 65 or even 90 
processors. As we're doing our render- 
ing, we're compositing at the same 
time. Because we're rendering three- 
dimensional objects, which takes time, 
.our processors can act in parallel. In the 


REALISM: External reality exists inde- 
pendent of our perception of it. Gravity 
exists whether or not I can name or un- 
derstand it, 

FIECURSIDN: The looping back of a sys- 
tem or statement upon itself. "This state- 
ment Is a sentence" demonstrates a sim- 
ple recursion, while "this statement is 
false" suggests the kind of paradox of- 
ten found in more complex examples of 

SCALING: The magnification of a sys- 
tem itself. To learn more about the weath- 
er, we might magnify a single weather 
system in expectation of new data too 
small to register at the current level, The 
problem then becomes how to process 
the influx of rapidly increasing data, 

NAMICS; Formulated during the mid 
nineteenth century, this law holds that 
although energy can neither be creat- 
ed nor destroyed (the First Law), not all 
energy within a system is available for 
use. As more energy is used, entropy — 
or the supply of unavailable energy- 
Increases. Thus, systems will Inevitably 
move from a state of order toward dis- 
order, stability toward randomness, cer- 
tainty toward probability. 

SELF-REFERENCE: Calls attention to 
the instability of meaning in language. 
Puns, metaphors, and riddles depend 
upon the ambiguity of words and there- 
by demonstrate the futility of using lan- 
guage to replicate reality 

—Anna Copeland 

Page 2, lop: Tom Zimberoif; page 2, bot- 
tom left: Tim Wtiitej page 2, bottom tight; 
Joel Johnson: page 4: Richard K. Robinson: 
page 8: Renee Comet: page 1 0: Rob Gold- 
page 14: Daniel Riberzam: pages 18 and 
20: Ira Grunther; page 26; NASA; page 28, 
lop; Shel Secunda; page 28, bottom; Gior- 
gio Palmisano; page 31 : Art & Editorial 
Resources; page 32 lop; Associated 
Press; page 32, middle and bottom: Olga 
Spiegel; page 33, top: Don Dixon: page 33: 
Richard Newton/Ren ard Represents Inc.: 
page 34; NASA; page 36, top: Dave Davis/ 
FPG; page 36, bottom: Dr. Kennetti E, 
Campbell/Earth Science Division, Los An- 
geles CoLinty Museum oi Natural History; 
page 101; Gottfried Helnwein; page 102. 
top; Van Gogh/Art Resource: page 102. bot- 
tom; Aitllla Hejia; page 103; Ed LJtlle/ART- 
CO; page 120; Tine Image Bank, 
Correction io credits for October issue- 
page 28: Galen i^well. 



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morning, when we have our dailies, 
we've also got our composites, 
Omni: Along with learning color 
charts, painting, etching, sculpting, isn't 
it Imperative now for art students to 
learn to use computers? 
Muren: Absolutely, if you want to go in- 
to effects. Anybody can create art now 
on a computer by buying a painter and 
a microchip scanner for $900. You can 
scan any painting and rnake it look like 
a Monet. Some people will see it as a 
Monet; others will say it's preposterous. 
Lets say the "painting" ends up in a mag- 
azine: The guy did it for $200 and puts 
an S800 price tag on it. Anybody can 
do that with a computer. Not many 
could do it traditionally, with oil paints. 
The difference between good and 
great In the computer shows up in per- 
formance software. In doing something 
like dinosaur skin. Once you get the "di- 
no" program, everybody will be able to 
make dinosaurs, taut they'll all look the 
same, What will ILM do to make their 
dinosaurs look better? We're not about 
to give that up.- 

Omni: What's the difference between il- 
lusion and lie? 

Muren: We're not saying It's real. If we 
were saying these are photographs of 
real dinosaurs, nobody would believe 
it. If you say something Is real when It 
isn't, then you're lying about it. Many peo- 
ple are worried tfiat bogus images and 
bogus movies will start showing up, say 
of Clinton's secret meetings with the Jap- 
anese — Mission ImpossibiB clandestine 
stuff. The same fears were voiced 
when the telephone was invented: Can 
I believe this voice on the other end? 
We now know we can't trust a lot of 
what we're seeing. But changing faces 
is more about makeup than computer 
technology. Then you'd go to someone 
like Rick Baker. You could fake a news 
conference that was really, really import- 
ant. They do It all the time with Big 
Foot, I saw some Big Foot footage 12 
years ago. Rick Baker and I went 
down to a TV station where they had 
just gotten it in. Obviously bogus: The 
guy was wearing a suit; the camera- 
man's shaking the camera to make it 
look like it's hand-held. 

People try to fake that stuff. Maybe 
now they can do it a bit better digitally, 
but I'll be able to tell the difference. I 
can tell UFO photos, every one of 
them. I've never seen one that's real! 
I've seen ones that look real because 
they're so blurred, but you dismiss 
those as something else. I'm supersen- 
sitive to what's real and what isn't. Ttie 
unsuspecting public will buy TheEnquir- 
er, except it will be a video version. 
Omni: Why couldn't you take the pres- 
ident of a Third World country compos- 


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[te him doing something untoward with 
a farm animal, and put ttiat on TV? 
Muren: How is that different from the 
front page of the Enquirer? It'll be a new 
medium, and you'll fool some of the peo- 
ple for a while. They'll believe their 
eyes until a little education goes on and 
they begin to realize these Images are 
bogus, It's up to them to catch on. Don't 
you think this already may have hap- 
pened? This is a dangerous time. A lot 
of oomputer-generated hype is going 
on. But it'll shake down and people will 
realize what's real and what Isn't. We 
don't know what multimedia is, where 
It's useful. Who's to say If multimedia is 
full of lies? You distribute it to schools, 
and lies pop up in it every so often. 
Omni: I read that after Jurassic Park, 
ILM didn't have any projects lined up. 
Muren: Where did you read about that — 
in Variety? 

Omni: Yes, I have It here In my brief- 
case somewhere. 

Ivluren; Did you read the retraction two 
days later? No'^ Well, we're doing 
Schindler's List, and I4t)ffwlth Jack Ni- 
cholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mia Farrow. 
We just got a major Perrier spot with a 
lot of computer graphics in it. We're al- 
so doing a Malaysian Airline spot, a mas- 
sive thing, 

Omni: What is your concept of magic? 
Muren: I did it as a junior-high-school 
kid but quickly tired of it. Maybe be- 
cause I'm attracted to spectacle, big 
scaie of visuals, magic was too tame. 
Tbe effort it took to make a tiger disap- 
pear was too much. All the para- 
phernalia told you it was a trick. In a mov- 
ie, it's a trick but a very powerful one. 
Maybe it's an escape, but I respect the 
degree of skill it takes to be able to do 
that with a film. 

Omni: Have you ever been disappoint- 
ed with visual reality? 
Muren: It's called LA. After moving up 
here [lo San Rafael], I was driving to 
work one morning in 1979. The sky was 
misty in a way I'd never seen before, 
and it formed the basis of the look of 
the walker sequence in Empire: over- 
cast with the sun coming through, a rim 
light on the walkers in the opening 
shots where It's really spooky I never 
saw-anything like that in L.A. all the 
time I was there. 

Omni: After winning seven Oscars, 
what's your incentive now? 
Muren; The Academy Awards were nev- 
er an incentive; salary was never an in- 
centive. I'm here for the same reason 
now as when I got here: a yearning to 
fulfill a vision. I saw a wall with tradition- 
al technology. When computer graph- 
ics came out, that wall was gone. 
That's what keeps me going now. It's 
like a second honeymoon. DQ 

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Use the wisdom ol 
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For Competition #55, make something old new again 

By Scot Morris 

Mot long ago, I turned on my 
hotel-room TV at midnight, 
and it blared a loud 
infomercial. In the dark, I 
pushed what I thought was 
the "volume down" button, 
but it turned out to be the 
"channel down" button, and 
the TV switched to Yo! MTV 
Raps. I had to turn on a 
lamp to find the right button, 
and the volume went 
down — slowly. 

This experience led me to 
start up a new company, 
AnacroCo, which will intro- 
duce a new radio with just 
two controls: a knob at the 
right for tuning, and a knob 
at the left that has fou 
functions — turning the pow 
er on and off and the volun e 
up and down. AnacroCo s 
exclusive power/volume 
knob operates by the sense 
of touch, solving the 
dark-hotel-room crisis 
Our Insta-Tune knob 
allows you to scan an ent re 
radio dial in a second or 
two. With our unique 
Proproceptive Feedback 
Sensing System, you can 
stop scanning instantly 
when you find the station 
you want. And our Visi-Ease 
Dial allows you to recall the 
locations of your favorite 
stations by visual memory, 
which research has found 
far more reliable than 
numerical memory. 

AnacroCo's name comes 
from "anachronism," and we 
specialize in plucking ideas 
out of the past to improve 
modern life. We offer, for 
example, a car window that 
you can open or close after 
you turn off the ignition. 

Sometimes the simplest 
of old ideas seems like the 
latest space-age advance. 

130 OMNI 

Below are seven items from 
our 1994 catalog. Can you 
tell what we're selling? 
{Answers follow.) 

1 . Lincoln medallion— bas- 
relief sculpture of Abraham 
Lincoln, "The Great Emanci- 
pator," on a disc of genuine 
copper. Cast by the U.S. 
government, it carhes the 
inspirational motto "In God 
We Trust" and the pathotic 
word Liberty in raised 
letters. A slender 1/16-inch 
thick, it appears to the naked 

lingerie to blankets, all at the 
same time. Does large loads 
or dries one item at a lime 
using the same amount of 
power. Uses fusion power to 
save money on wash days 
and leaves your clothes 
sunshine fresh. $89.95 

4. Transparent air condi- 
tioner — lets fresh breezes in 
with quick hand operation. 
Leave it fully open or fully 
closed, or choose one of the 
infinite settings in between. 
And unlike other air- 

The ultimate radio af the future? 

eye to be perfectly round. 

We offer this unique piece 
for a limited time at a special 
price of $1 . Those who order 
promptly will get an 
unexpurgated translation of 
e pluribus unum. 

2. Portable hand-held 
word processor — writes in 
all languages and never 
needs batteries. It even 
performs all mathematical 
functions and includes a 
"delete" device to correct 
errors, $4,95 

3. Solar-powered clothes 
drier — dries everything from 

conditioning units, this one 
doesn't block your view of 
the great outdoors. S99 

5. Instant lenses— throw 
away your saline solution, 
because these lenses out- 
last contact lenses and can 
be removed instantly and 
even cleaned on your shirt. 
They fit in front of your eyes 
and stay in place with wires 
that utilize the body's natural 
eye-ear synergy $89.95 

6. Portable copier — 
instantly makes copies of 
handwritten lists, letters, 
sales receipts, and other 

documents. $39.95 

7. When you travel to 
another time zone, do you 
avoid changing the time on 
your digital watch because 
it's such a hassle? Do you 
have to drag out the watch's 
instructions before you can 
"spring forward" or "fall 
back" an hour? Our new 
device incorporates Propro- 
ceptive Feedback Sensing 
Control to allow you to set 
the time on any watch with 
ease. $45 

AnacroCo's looking for 
more new old-fashioned 
gadgets, Send us your sug- 
gestions, explaining the 
benefits of your device in 50 
word's or less. You must, 
of course, also tell us what it 
is. In a future issue, I'll 
highlight some of the best 
"improvements," The cre- 
ator of the best gadget will 
win a 9,600-baud U.S. 
Robotics internal modem 
and a starter kit for America 
Online, home of Omni 
IVlagazine Online. 

You may enter more than 
once, but each entry must 
be sent separately; we 
prefer postcards rather than 
letters. All entries become 
the property of Omn; and 
cannot be returned. Entries 
must be received by 
December 15. Send to: 
Omni Competition #55, 
Retro-Breakthroughs, 324 
W. Wendover Avenue, Suite 
205, Greensboro, Nortti 
Carolina 27408. 

1. Penny 

2. Pencil 

3. Clothesline 

4. Window 

5. Glasses 

6. Carbon paper 

7. Winding knob DO 







BNOOPVj .;- 1958 Umlsd Feature Syndlcsle, Ipc I >:■ 1993 Mi